When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus. 2 Cor. 7:5-6 (NIV)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17 (NIV)
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”. Heb. 3:13 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, I’m so thankful for the friends you’ve woven into my life—the brothers and sisters who pursue me, though my default mode is withdrawal; who reach out to bear my burdens, though I feign self-sufficiency and hate to be a bother; who comfort me when I’m downcast, though I struggle to being emotionally honest and genuinely weak in the presence of others.
Father, thank you for friends who know how to encourage me with their presence and words—those who remind me of the gospel and help me get a better perspective on disappointments and hurts. Thank you for those who know how to confront me, and “call me out” from self-pity and cynicism, to faith, freedom, and hope.
Make me the same kind of friend, Father, especially in this next season of life. Whether you give me five, ten or fifteen more years of life, I want to finish my days in this world as an encourager and comforter—as a conduit of your mercy and grace. I don’t need any more stuff and I don’t need to get busier. As I preach it, so may I live it: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.”
Help me to be better at giving presence than answers; tears more so than advice; hope and not spin; my heart, and not just my hands. All of this, and so much more, you so freely give me in the gospel, Father. I’m a rich man because of the way you love me in Jesus. Love through me, to your glory. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ kind and near name.
– Scotty Smith, Heavenward