Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John, verse 2.
Our friends are our neighbors who we should love as ourselves. The writer of this book heard Jesus Himself speak those very words to the Pharisees who questioned him. Whether we realize it or not, we involve ourselves in the lives of the people in our world by praying for them; just like John did. Prayer is an active thing, not just some wishing well or psychiatric gimmick. It’s a way to call on Jesus to actively intervene in our lives, especially in the lives of people we care about.
If you’re like me, sometimes prayer is difficult, especially when you don’t always sense that you’ve been heard. That’s where faith comes into play. We ask God for His help, for His activity and His presence, and it’s only by faith that we can know we’re heard. He answers ALL prayers, even as He does so in ways we don’t understand, or on a timeline for which we’re unprepared. Praying for the well-being and the happy soul of people we know is a way to do something for them, especially if we’re separated by distance. Even more rewarding, I think, is praying for someone who doesn’t know you’re praying for them. I can’t tell you how many bad days I’ve gone through where the only thing I felt was keeping me up was God. Behind that feeling, I know in my heart that many friends and strangers were praying for me, encouraging me to persevere in the Lord.
And when was the last time you wrote to a friend and inquired about the condition of their soul? We all know people whose souls are weighed down with sins, cares, and holding too tightly to the past. Maybe it’s even you; I know ‘that guy’ used to be me, and I felt the weight of a hundred bricks on my soul. When was the last time you asked a weary friend about the condition of their soul, then listened, cried, grieved, and healed with them?
Hand in hand with that, when was the last time you celebrated with someone when their soul was light and cheery? I think about weddings, and go-live days (when you’ve done a job well), graduation days, and days when babies are born. Those are undeniably happy moments. When did we last pray for them?
Jesus told us: take my yoke for my burden is light. One way we can take that yoke is by going to Him in prayer for our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones, and the matters on our hearts.
Jesus, I pray for You to be active in our lives today. Build up the people around me who are struggling, encourage those who are sad, and use me to do Your work for them in Your world.