Monday, July 08, 2013

band of brothers

A Prayer of Thanks for Long-Standing Friends

For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philem. 1: 7)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him— a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eccles. 4: 9– 12)

Heavenly Father, I cannot imagine how storms can be navigated, burdens borne, and hardships handled without the company of a few good friends. I praise you today for the gift of friendship— for the joy, encouragement, and refreshment you’ve just given me through a special band of brothers. It could not have come at a better time.

When we walk through difficult seasons we’re sometimes inclined to think, “No one can possibly understand what I’m going through; no one can begin to relate to my feelings and confusion; no one is a mess like me.” Those are the times when it’s easy to withdraw into isolation, fall into the pit of condemnation, and reach for some ill-chosen medication. That’s when the gift of long-standing friends becomes especially precious.

Father, I praise you for the gift of hearing my friends say these two words: “Me too.” I praise you for brothers who know how to “refresh the hearts of the saints”— including this saint. I praise you for friends who remind me of the truth and power of the gospel, of the love of Jesus, and of the bigger story you are always writing.

I praise you for friends who share their lives and not just their gospel. I praise you for friends who offer tears and not just their answers. I praise you for friends who give life-giving wisdom and not just mess-fixing formulas.

Father, these cherished friendships turn my heart heavenward. They simply remind me that the foundation and fountain of all good friendship is found in you. I praise you for befriending us in the gospel. It is overwhelming, settling, and centering to hear Jesus say to us, “I no longer call you servants.  .  .  . I call you friends” (John 15: 15 NIV). What wondrous love is this, indeed? “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15: 13 NIV). Hallelujah, what a salvation! Hallelujah, what a Savior! I pray in Jesus’ most glorious and gracious name. Amen.

- Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. Baker Publishing Group.

Thanking God today for David, Steven & Stephen - my band of brothers! ...friends who stick closer than...