I ask for a spirit of acceptance, that we might be more willing to acknowledge our own limitation, the limitations of others, and the limitations of the world. I ask for a spirit of genuine surrender, that we might submit to God's will as discerned by the community, rather than asserting our own broken desires on the world.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. 9For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel* of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, 10asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. 11For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
1) "I remember you always in my prayer;" "...by God's will;" "...For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you;" "...mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine;"
2) We could use some encouragement. But it needs to be real, not fueled by false dreams and accomplishments (aren't we "nice" to each other?). But rather, encouragement that comes from genuine growth in faith, transformed hearts, new vision, deeper commitment, a more just world. Do our words encourage? Do our actions encourage? Do we feel encouraged by each other's walk in faith? What do we find encouraging just now? Right now, I'm discouraged by my reaction this morning to some abysmal communication. In the middle of the conversation I became aware that I wasn't who I wanted to be. I was not encouraging. Seven weeks of prayer and meditation flew out the window as my worst dread of returning to work was realized: I'm still the same person I was when I left, just as easily frustrated, just as easily exasperated. In fact, probably a little more so.
3) To turn over expectations to Christ. To remember that when we succeed at anything, it is only by God's will. To seek to be encouraging.
"Holy One, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Breathprayer: "Mutually encouraged... by each other's faith."