O great and generous God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I praise You, Lord, for Your overflowing heart. You richly provide all things for us to enjoy – family, friends, food, stories, sports, sunshine, masterpieces, music, mountains, books, beaches, ballfields, laughter, love, and life itself… all things that I have ever enjoyed are gifts from You (1 Timothy 6:17). You, my Father in heaven, delight to give good things to those who ask You (Matthew 7:11). You, Lord, bestow favor and honor. No good thing will You withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from You, the Father of lights (James 1:17). You love to give gifts to men.
And You have called me to be like You, overflowing with generosity to others. You have given me gifts to share. Yet I have failed to use my gifts to serve You and to bless the lives of my family, my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers.
Instead, I have acted selfishly. Sometimes, I ignore my gifts. Other times, I hoard my gifts. Therefore, the lives of the people You have put in my path are impoverished because I have failed to build up, encourage, and serve them.
My selfish lack of love is not a small sin. My sins of omission are heinous in Your sight. When I don’t bless others the way You’ve gifted me to bless them, then I am actually harming them. I am not fulfilling Your plan to love them through me. My failure to love, to serve, to give, to bless is deserving of Your judgment.
I praise You, Lord God, that You have provided a way of escape from that judgment. You have made forgiveness available through Christ’s descent and ascent. He descended from His home in heaven to this lowly world. He lived the life I could never live and died the death I should have died so I could be forgiven for all my selfish ways. You raised Jesus from the dead. Afterwards, He victoriously ascended on high and out of His generosity, through His Spirit He gave gifts to undeserving sinners like me.
Your grace was given to me through Jesus – not so I would look and speak and act the same as everyone else but so I could bless the lives of others according to my own unique gifts. As I join with others in using our gifts, the presence of Christ will one day fill all things; that is, the whole universe!
So, Lord, let me be fully equipped by the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers that You have given to train people in Your church. And guide me to embrace the role I am to play in Your church – whether it be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, or teaching. Help our leaders and me equip other saints to do their work in the ministry so that the whole body of Christ might be built up.
Give to me and to all Your church a greater desire to be one in our faith. Help us grow to know Jesus better so that we can become fully mature, fully developed, fully imitating Jesus Christ.
Since I am a gifted part of Your body, the church, may I no longer be spiritually immature like a child, an easy prey for spiritual predators. Help me never to be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. May I not be influenced when false teachers try to trick me with their crafty lies and deceitful schemes.
Thank You for the spiritual gifts You have given to me. Thank You for the role that I have been called to play in Your church. I want to learn to speak the truth in love. I long to be more and more like Christ, the head of Your church, in every way. Help me to take my lead from Him, who is the Source of everything I do.
And as each gifted person in Your church serves uniquely, may the whole body of Christ become increasingly harmonious, joined and held together in love. Keep us in step with each other. May each individual part of the body of Christ function properly. Cause us to grow, to mature, and to build one another up in unselfish love.
This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 4:7-16. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the Amplified Bible, the Phillips New Testament in Modern English, the New Living Translation, and The Message.