READ : 1 John 4:16-21
We love because he first loved us. (v. 19)
Every relationship with God begins with divine initiative. God speaks first, we reply in prayer. God loves us first, we respond in turn with our love of God. In prayer we listen to God, speak to God, and spend time receiving the love of God and returning that love.
When my friend speaks to me I will listen attentively and then make a verbal response to let my friend know that I have heard what was said. When my friend shows love for me, I return that love. Our relationship grows through the interchange. So our relationship with God grows as we pray.
Even a cry to God for help in an emergency is actually not done on our initiative. The inclination to make an appeal itself comes from God, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Every inclination to turn to God is the result of God’s work in us. Our desire to communicate with God is in response to the gifts of love we have been given.
Every prayer we offer is in fact authored by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit within us leads us to respond to God with words, and sometimes with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26).
Dear God, you have given us your love in Jesus Christ. May our thoughts, words, and actions say, “We love you too.” Amen.