Now having moved into March, we are a little over a month away from Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. As we continue our journey to the cross and the empty tomb, we do so while remaining in the Season of Lent, a time of self-examination, reflection and repentance. As we do so, I pray this is a meaningful time for all as we discern ways in which we need to “re-set” our lives according to God’s will and plan for our lives.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you something I came across a couple of months ago, as I began preparing for our current message series: The “I Am” Sayings of Jesus. It is an article written about using Jesus’ “I Am” statements as a guide for prayer. The article in its entirety, written by Bob Hostetler and posted on www.guideposts.org is seen below. I hope you find this article useful and maybe even something to add to your Lenten disciplines:
To some people, “Iams” is just a brand name for pet food. For others, it is a powerful and inspiring way to pray. One of the unique features of the fourth Gospel, written by John (the beloved disciple) a few decades after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, is its singular structure, which is more thematic than chronological. And part of that structure is the inclusion of seven striking statements Jesus made, which have come to be called “The Seven I Ams.”
The first occurs in John 6:35, soon after Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes. He said:
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35, NIV)
t was the first of seven metaphors Jesus used to portray his divine nature and redemptive mission. And those “I Am” statements can be a great way to pray, particularly when your faith and hope need a boost.
For example, you may make a list of the seven “I Ams” and pray something like this:
1) Lord Jesus, you said, “I am the bread of life.” Your nature is to provide and sustain life as You did for crowds on Galilean hillsides. I pray for You to meet my need today.
2) You said, “I am the light of the world.” It is Your very nature to dispel darkness. Please light the path ahead of me and shine Your light on me.
3) You said, “I am the door of the sheep.” You protect and shelter those who depend on You. Let nothing come my way that You have not approved.
4) You said, “I am the good shepherd.” Your nature is to care and lead and guide. Please do that for me today.
5) You said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” You banish sadness and impart vitality and abundance. Please resurrect my hopes and enliven me today.
6) You said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Your very nature is to drive away confusion, distraction, error, doubt and death. Please banish those things from my heart, mind and spirit today.
7) You said, “I am the true vine.” You impart Your divine beauty, grace and vitality to all those who abide in You. Help me to abide in You today and infuse me with Your nature.
Those prayers are offered as a mere example, of course. Yours will be more specific to your situation and need. And you may find, as I do, that the “I Ams” are so rich and meaningful that you can pray them every day for a week and never pray the same way twice.
Give it a try. It is a great way to connect your praying to the beauty, power and wealth of Jesus Himself.
Indeed, I encourage you to “Give it a try” and see how your prayer life might be impacted. As this holy season continues, my prayer for all of us is that as our self-examination, reflection and repentance continues this season, we might be drawn closer to God and in doing so, may be able to love God and love neighbor more fully!!!
In the name of the Great I AM,