Prayer Bead Devotion: The Journey Towards Love of Self

As you recall, I’m using Scot McKnight’s 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed as the basis for our prayer bead devotions this month.  The Jesus Creed is the passage from Mark 12:29 – 31, where Jesus says “‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  The Jesus Creed is a fitting focus during our Lenten journey towards the cross. 

I know that in my last post I promised that this next devotion would be about the journey towards love of neighbor.  However, I realized that as Jesus talks about our love of neighbor, he emphasizes that that love is based on our love of self.  “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he says.  Thus, in order to love our neighbor, we must first be able to love ourselves.

I think this is a challenge for most people.  It is rare to find someone who doesn’t struggle with some type of self-esteem issue.  We are too quick to criticize ourselves, to abuse our bodies, to second guess our abilities, and to feel we are unworthy of love, especially God’s love.  With all that, is it any wonder that we struggle with how to love our neighbor?  Is anyone surprised that our world is full of war and hate crimes and abuse and betrayal?  We have lost the sense that God first loves us, and as such, that we are empowered to love our neighbor. 

This devotion is designed to remind us of the fact that we are eikons of God – that God created us in His image.  He must really love us a lot if He wants us to be like Hi!  In thanks, we must learn to love ourselves and honor the ways in which we reflect the image of God. 

Cross: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Invitatory Bead: “’Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12:29 – 31, NRSV)

1st Cruciform Bead: Lord, I confess that I have not loved myself.

1st set of Week Beads: use each bead to confess the ways in which you do not honor the image of God within you and love yourself. 

2nd Cruciform Bead: Lord, I thank you for creating me in your own image. 

2nd set of Week Beads: use each bead to consider the ways in which you reflect and reveal the image of God. 

3rd Cruciform Bead: Lord, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

3rd set of Week Beads: use each bead to thank God for creating you, and for all the wonderful gifts and abilities He has blessed you with.

4th Cruciform Bead: Lord, I commit to honoring your wonderful creation by showing love to myself in the following ways:

4th set of Week Beads: use each bead to think of ways in which you can love yourself, honor God’s image within you, and thank Him for the life He has given you.  

Invitatory Bead: recite The Lord’s Prayer

Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen

Next week’s prayer bead devotion: The Journey Towards Love of Neighbor (I promise!)

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