Because Your Kiss is on My List

Sometimes planning for vacation can be as much fun as going on vacation. You imagine yourself at the special place you have reserved, away from all the troubles of everyday life, ready to bask in the sun. This might be more of a woman thing, but it officially hits a new level of excitement when it’s time to make the list. For some reason, writing out all the things you will want to bring makes it all the more real to the mind. The hope has moved from the fantasy stage to concrete items that are coming with you. Now there is responsibility connected to the pleasure. I can make the trip more enjoyable if I have a brand new book to crack open when I get there, and a super-fun hat. The kids begin to plot all the memories they will be making together as they carefully concoct their own lists. We start planning “vacation outfits” and dreaming of all the new food we will eat. With the future destination marked joyfully on the calendar, the rest of our responsibilities seem easier to bear. As the day approaches nearer, the kids even seem to like each other more. They become more helpful to each other and around the house. My husband even unwinds a couple extra notches. As a matter of fact, his mind goes into vacation mode around 3 days early. This is always fun because he spends more money on vacation mode. This morning I got to thinking that I want my prayer life to be on vacation mode. I’m currently reading through Susan Hunt’s Prayers of the Bible (which I will give an upcoming review), and have been encouraged to deepen my prayers for my Christian brothers and sisters. In going through Jesus’s prayer in John 17, Hunt says, “When we pray according to His Word, we focus on heavenly realities. This fortifies us to face earthly realities” (53). I can do this for myself usually, but I easily fall into the rut of merely focusing on prayer requests and circumstances for my siblings in Christ. While my own prayer life is enriched focusing on future, heavenly realities, I tend to focus on prayer for the earthy troubles and praises for others. In modeling Christ’s prayer for unity and his service to his disciples, Hunt suggests, “There may be no greater way for us to ‘wash the feet’ of our brothers and sisters than to faithfully pray for God to be glorified in them, to ask Him to keep and sanctify them, to pursue profound unity with them, and to anticipate spending eternity praising God’s glorious grace with them” (54). This is especially poignant for the ones that we struggle to like. But our prayer life is kind of akin to making the list for our future destination. I don’t know for sure what the materials will be like in the new heavens and the new earth. And I’m not too worried. If my fun-glasses don’t make it over, I know God has much more to offer with all the holy resources sanctified for his worship. But I do know that people will be going with me. People that I share union with in Christ. Of course, God is the one with the list, but Jesus Christ is sitting at his right hand interceding for us right now, just as he did in his priestly prayer recorded in John 17. Doesn’t that heavenly reality affect the way that we will pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ? Like my children who joyfully pursue unity before our family trips, we should do the same. And in his prayer, Christ teaches us how to pray for unity: “Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.” This is no superficial unity that compromises God’s Word. No, we pray for God to sanctify them based on the reality of what they are becoming. We are all being made holy into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is not the kind of unity that the world envisions, but they will all behold it on that great day, and what a wonder it will be!