How Does Prayer Counseling Help Us to Love God and Others?
“Which is the first commandment of all?” And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28b-31 NKJV
Love God. Love others. This is the commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples, both then and now. Jesus also said that if we loved God we would obey His commandments. John 14:15, 21. What keeps us from truly loving God, and, as a consequence, others?
The answer lies with this question: how hard can it be to love God? It would seem natural that our response to the gift of salvation would be devotion to the One that made the way for us to receive new life.
Yet it isn’t always as easy as just saying the words “I love you, God.” Those words ring hollow for those who have never truly tasted the sweetness of God’s love. How can someone who has never felt the warmth of God’s affection respond in kind to a loving Father?
We can also say, “I love my fellow man” yet never truly be an extension of God’s love in this world. Those words carry no weight unless accompanied by real acts of love. How can someone who is not full to overflowing with the compassion and grace that fills God’s heart pass it on to others?
Free to Be Vessels of His Love
As disciples, it is vital that we have an experiential knowledge of the love of God, so that we ourselves brim over with the kindness, affection and unconditional acceptance of God and are not just “points of light” to others but, more importantly, “points of love.”
How can we go from knowing about God’s love to knowing God’s love?
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NKJV)
Ever since I can remember I have always loved babies. I can only think of a few rare occasions when I met a child who didn’t like me back. When I meet a small child for the first time my instinct is to just grab him and hug him but I have learned over time to give the child time to get used to me before I do the full court press. Sometimes that takes longer than other times but invariably I end up holding him and loving on him. The comments I often hear range from “he never lets anyone he doesn’t know hold him” to “he’s so comfortable with you!” When people ask me why children seem to like me, my response is always the same: they feel the love.
When it comes to loving God we are just like little children: our love for God is a direct response to His love for us. Like babies, we were created to be natural sponges for the love of our Father in heaven. The more we experience His love, the more we love Him.
But how many of us are like the babies who resist being held? Or worse yet, how many more of us have hearts that are actually filled with fear? Fear and love cannot inhabit the same space. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18, NKJV) We fear because we have never truly experienced the love of God in our hearts. We only have a head knowledge of the love of God rather than a heartknowledge. Instead of being open, our hearts are closed off and we cannot receive the love God is pouring out on us.
In childhood we are meant to receive the nurture and love from our parents that will enable us to keep our hearts open to God and to others. In his book, The Five Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman calls this “filling our love tank.” When our love tank is full we learn to trust, and we do not to have to hide, or flee in fear. However, when our primary caregivers fail to meet our need for love in real or perceived ways, like flowers that do not bloom, our hearts do not open up and we have less capacity to love. This impedes our ability to receive God’s love.
It also hinders us from loving others. In their book Letting Go of Your Past, John and Paula Sandford write: “When we do not have a functioning spirit filled with love, we cannot care how our brother feels, nor do we feel bad if we happen to be the one who causes him harm.”
Prayer counseling is one way for this deficit to be remedied.
Finding Freedom through Prayer Counseling
Being healed through prayer counseling deals with the wounds of childhood that caused us to close our hearts. The truth strips away the poor substitutes for love that we have clung to over the years. For the first time perhaps, we can see ourselves seated in the lap of our loving Father in heaven, and allow Him to give us the nurture we so desperately need. Our hearts begin to open up to receive. We are like a glass full of dirty water into which clean water is being poured until all the dirt is displaced. The cup fills and overflows with clean, pure, water—love—and now it becomes natural to love in turn.
Through prayer for healing, dialogue with God, and the unconditional acceptance of the prayer minister, God reveals His love in ways that are meaningful to each individual.
This is what God showed one counselee:
“[God’s love is like a] powerful sea with powerful waves. You can’t wade in and push it away or stop it. You can try and fight the current, [but] it is like the love of God that rolls right over you and covers you. There is no sin, nothing about you, that can stop that sea rolling over you.”
When we experience God’s love, fear is displaced, our hearts are enlarged and we are able to love God in return. When we know what it is to receive His love with no strings attached, we can love others in the same way. It is then that we are truly able to obey Jesus’ command to love God and one another.
Ready to start your own journey to freedom? Make your prayer counseling appointment with Finding Home Institute today. Email us at email@example.com (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.