“Dare We Pray to Become More Cruciformed?”
This is the prayer written and spoken by my dear friend Leonard Allen on the opening night of the 2016 Pepperdine Bible Lectures (just before N. T. Wright spoke):
Eternal God, we come to you through our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of your gracious Spirit. You are holy and your name is great.
We gather tonight as people whom you have welcomed into your household, and to your table. And you have surrounded us with sisters and brothers—the body of Christ—so that we are not alone. With them, we enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and experience the reality of your kingdom coming.
Tonight as we assemble in this place, we anticipate a feast—a feast from your Word, a feast of fellowship, a feast of friends old and new. We thank you for the gracious gift of hospitality by this institution. We thank you for the speakers, invited from all over the globe, who bring us their learning, their wisdom, their faith, their passion for your kingdom. And we thank you for our brother Tom Wright, from whom many of us have learned much over the years. What a rich blessing this week!
Dare we pray to become more cruciformed? By the death of your beloved Son you took an instrument of shameful death and made it the means of life for us. So the cross has become for us a powerful and precious story. Through the cross we have been brought down to death and back to life through new birth. So we are your baptized people. You’ve raised us from our watery graves, made us alive with Jesus Christ, and touched us with the fire of the Spirit of Christ.
So I say to Jesus now:
Thank you for the cross, Lord
Thank you for the price you paid
Bearing all our sin and shame
In love you came
and gave amazing grace
And now, oh God, continue to form us through your Word and Spirit!
Make us, as Jesus was, lovers of truth and able to be trusted.
Make us, as Jesus was, full of kindness, even for those who dislike or even despise us.
Make us, as Jesus was, resolute in trust and steadfast in faith.
Make us, as Jesus was, instruments of your peace.
We want to live more deeply into the story of Jesus. May it be so, oh God, this very week.
I pray though Jesus. Amen.
PBL, May 3, 2016