We Love You Today


Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

I Corinthians 15:1-5

The man who forever changed how I pray passed away one year ago this week.

Nearly every Sunday morning, for five years, I sat down next to Ken Welle and Jack Stimmel for prayer on a couch in Jack’s office. As a young man, I had such deep respect for both men—and continue to do so even today.

Every Sunday morning, Ken would begin by offering a prayer. And every morning without fail, in his naturally deep rugged voice, he would begin his prayer with one simple sentence:

“Heavenly Father, we love you today.”

It was simple and short, but so entirely profound I would look forward to hearing those words every time we bowed our heads.

“Heavenly Father, we love you today.”

Just say it out loud real quick, before moving on. “Heavenly Father, I love you today.” Feel the weight of those simple words.

To me, those words became a declaration of commitment and honor.

As if we were all saying together, in that room, “Again today, on this morning, I have made the decision that I will love you and that I will submit myself to you. That was my decision yesterday and that is my decision again today. You will be first and foremost in my affection and decisions. I love you today.

When God called Kim and I away from Menomonie, WI to pastor in Essex VT, I took Ken’s prayer with me. And to this day, twenty years later, it is still how I begin every prayer.

It is how I begin every prayer—both when I am alone and when I am in a group.

Soon, I added my own phrasing after those six words. I don’t remember when or why I added the second part. But if you have sat with me in prayer, I started with these words:

“Heavenly Father, we love you today. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for His life, death, and resurrection that we can know you and follow you and serve you…”

It was Ken Welle who taught me to pray like that.

And now he is gone—no doubt he is declaring to the face of God Himself, “I love you today.”

Ken’s legacy of love and faithfulness will live on in so many of our hearts. And his legacy of prayer will forever live on in mine.


Heavenly Father, I love you today. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for His life, death, and resurrection that I can know you and follow you and serve you. Help me to do that well today, and tomorrow, and for the rest of my life. Amen.