Praying the Bible’s “love chapter” can work wonders–maybe more than chocolate or flowers!
Valentine’s Day—and the week or two leading up to it—can be a challenge for many people. For those who are happily in a relationship, it can involve agonizing card and gift decisions (candy again?). For those unhappily in a relationship, it can cause deep pain. And for those who are searching for love, every heart, cupid,and love song can make them feel even worse.
But there is a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day that doesn’t depend on or add to your relational (or financial) angst. It is beautifully simple and uplifting: Prayer.
But not just any prayer. Oh, no. I suggest praying the Bible’s famous “love chapter,” a short depiction of love from one of Paul’s letters to the first-century church in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 13. Here is one way to do it:
God, I know that even if I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. I know that if I had the gift of prophecy and understood all of Your secret plans and possessed all knowledge and had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. And I know that if I gave all my possessions to the poor and even sacrificed my body but didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
I want to love well and love all. Please make me patient and kind—not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Let me not demand my own way. Help me not to be irritable. Save me holding grudges. Let me never be glad about injustice but rather rejoice whenever the truth wins out. May I never give up, never lose faith, always stay hopeful, and endure through every circumstance.
Remind me that the gifts of prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will someday disappear, but love will last forever! Remind me that now my knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture, but the time will come when such things will fade but love will remain.
Remind me that when I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child but grew up and put away childish things—and so, though I see things imperfectly now, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, I will someday see everything with perfect clarity. Though all that I know now is partial and incomplete, someday I will know as I am known by You—perfectly and completely. I will see what truly matters and what lasts forever: faith, hope, and love—especially love (based on 1 Corinthians 13 in the New Living Translation).
You may pray it differently, which is okay. You may focus on some verses and not others; that’s okay, too. But praying the Bible’s “love chapter”—especially around Valentine’s Day—can work wonders. It can focus your thoughts and feelings far better than the best Hallmark card. It can lift your spirits more than flowers or a movie. Most importantly, it can help you focus on what truly matters and what lasts forever: faith, hope, and love. Especially love.