A deeper friendship with Jesus – this was one of the strong desires that surfaced during my prayer retreat I made last year before my retirement in November. I did not want my times with God to be dominated by ministry burdens, decisions, church issues, and preaching preparation as it was during my pastorate. I wanted my relationship with God to be more like a friendship. “I not longer regard you as servants but as friends” was what Jesus said to his disciples before his passion. There would be a greater warm intimacy, more disclosure and collaborative partnership in the relationship. When I am with my pastor friends I do not only ask favours and request information and talk about ministry issues, I also talk about what’s going on in my family and life, my everyday stuff, and light-hearted matters and incidents too. I wanted something of this in my relationship with the Lord too. So I have been praying more for this grace recently: a deeper friendship with Jesus, and started talking to him about anything and everything about the day that passed. In addition, I saw a small booklet at my bedside table titled, Keeping In Touch With God by M. Basilea Schlink, the founder of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. I browsed the pages and saw that this could be helpful in fulfilling this desire that surfaced during my prayer retreat last year. Let me share a snippet here, a prayer she wrote that I found resonant with what I want in my relationship with God. I hope it stirs a similar desire in you to want a deeper friendship with Jesus too.
JESUS, YOU SHALL BE FIRST IN MY LIFE.
I want to talk with you and work for you.
I want to think over everything with you, making all my decisions with you.
Nothing shall be done without you, for I do not want to shut you out of my life.
Bind me tightly to you so that nothing – no work, no burden, no other interest, no joy – can separate us during this day.
So may I constantly live in your holy presence: FOR YOU ARE THERE!M. BASILEA SCHLINK