Life-Giving Encouragement: Treasures of the Soul
By Sharon W. Betters
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. -Romans 15:30 ESV -Dear Friends,
In this week’s devotions, we will dig a little deeper into the power of prayer, and how it truly is a “treasure of the soul” that helps to equip us to offer life-giving encouragement to others.
How many of you remember multi-tasking with a phone tucked under your chin while preparing meals with children underfoot, pots steaming, and salad fixings on the counter, all the while making plans for the next day’s Bible study?
Unbeknownst to us, lots of mentoring was going on while we lived life together. One particular phone conversation stands out to me. I stirred the spaghetti and listened as my friend updated me on her latest parenting crisis. Tears punctuated each word and my heart hurt for her. I had no new words of comfort or direction to share, and as she wearily agreed with me that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint (the only hope I thought I could offer at that moment), I felt the Lord nudging me to pray with her on the phone. This was a scary thought, but helpless to offer any other hope, I asked her if we could pray before we said goodbye. She hesitated and then agreed. Halting words started out of my mouth and then tears flowed both ways through that landline phone as we told the Lord we didn’t know what to do, so our eyes were fixed on Him. Desperation drove us to Jesus. My friend’s child-rearing problems made her dependent on Him. My lack of wisdom revealed my need for Him.
“Amen”, I concluded. A few seconds of silence passed as both of us realized we had just experienced a holy ground moment. Later she told me no one had ever prayed for her by name on the spot like and it moved her in a way that took her off guard. She felt vulnerable and loved by the Lord and me, all at the same time. We both grew up a little as we recognized our own inabilities. We recognized a source of power and hope, freely available but often neglected. Many years later, such praying flows more freely, but the Lord has so much more to teach me about prayer.
Sometimes we don’t feel much relief from pleading for the Lord to intervene in our friend’s broken places. Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, helped me see prayer through different eyes that shift my struggling heart from worry to watching:
“When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching. You watch God weave His patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God’s drama. As you wait, you begin to see Him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again.”
Let’s see if this week’s devotions help shift us from worry to watching God “weave His patterns” in the story of our lives, instead of us trying to control or dictate how He must respond to our prayers.
Treasured by Him,
For more on prayer, read Chapter 9, Treasures of Encouragement
Read Ephesians 6:10-20 and note in your journal-specific ways the Lord prepares us for this spiritual battle.
Check out the book, A Praying Life, by Paul Miller.
When you attend church today, be on the watch for opportunities to pray with a friend, listen carefully to the pastor’s message, and jot down Scriptures and statements that grab your heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a nonprofit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children, and fourteen grandchildren.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.