And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Jesus, you taught us that all of God’s law, and everything revealed to us hangs on and depends on these two commandments. It seems impossible to love you with all of my everything — please help me! And it seems impossible to actually LOVE my neighbor, everyone I know or could meet, as I love myself. I need your enabling power — help me! This is so much beyond just being a “nice person” or “decent human being” — but I want to be what you’ve made me to be.
Forgive me for my failures to love; cleanse me of my guilt when I look at someone with another ethnicity and fail to see your image in the way you have made them. Equip me with your strength, Jesus, just as you promised that you created me to walk in good works. Let me genuinely love and serve you, God, and my neighbor only in the strength you provide.
Father, let me see you and know you, and your goodness. Let me, like the Psalmist, look on your kindness and your likeness. Let me glimpse your holiness!
The LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
Father in Heaven, You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. I seek your mercy and your forgiveness for my sins. Let me see my guilt, my failure to meet your standard to honor your holiness, and to love you and all the people you make. Father, you know where all the injustice has been in my world before I came to be and around me. Let me turn my back on it — forgive my iniquity; undo my transgression; cover my sin — with Jesus’s blood that was given for me to cover my sin. Open my eyes to the corruption of evil and let me repent of any part in it that I play, because it is a show against your holiness. Keep me from tolerating anything harmful done against the people you have made.
Are my eyes closed to transgression? Am I somehow supporting evil, or complying with injustice? Is there a need that I can help with? Is there some way I can bring justice and do good? I sense that there is wrong around me; I am grieved by the sin in my own heart and all abuses of power done in my name by my government and ruling institutions. You alarm me by the way you told your people through your prophet —
When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:15-17)
Don’t let me be cut off from you, Father! Don’t hide your eyes from me. Please hear my prayers.
By the grace given to me in Jesus, please cleanse my from my sin; show me the blood on my hands. Show me if I am tolerating or supporting any evil.
Please wash me and make me clean! Show me how to reject evil and put it away.
I need your help to see evil in my own heart; please reveal it to me, for I know you are gracious and quick to forgive. Please allow me to cease to do evil and stop it immediately.
My Teacher, I don’t know how to do good in every case; please teach me! I want to learn how to do good.
Great Judge of the World, show me where there is injustice, and let me seek to remedy it. Show me how to do justice; don’t lead me into temptation to do injustice, but deliver me from evil.
Gracious Jesus, who offers a light burden, please help me to correct oppression. Show me where oppression still exists, and enable me to correct it. Don’t let me be satisfied to allow oppression to go on.
Heavenly Father, you are on the side of the fatherless and the widow against their oppressors. Please bring justice to the fatherless, and let me be a part. Show me the need of the widow and the vulnerable, and help me to argue their case.
Lord God, You are building your kingdom of justice and righteousness — please let me to be part.
I pray with Daniel that to you belongs righteousness — but to us belongs open shame. (Daniel 9) For we have not obeyed your laws — there have been many times we have failed. We have not always listened to your Word, your teachers, and our leaders have gone astray, and we have tolerated them. Though you have called us to be your people, we have sometime committed treachery by rebelling against your law of love.
But for your name’s sake, for the sake of Jesus who already paid the penalty for these sins and who has brought us to your throne — please show us your mercy, and forgive us. We repent of our own sin; we turn our backs on the errors of those we have loved and trusted; we don’t accept the wrongdoing of the past. Please let me walk before you in humility, and please let me to learn to do good, to correct oppression. Please show me the wisdom and strength I need to stop injustice committed around me and in my land. Soften my heart and let me walk before you in righteousness.