A lot of people yesterday had a New Year’s lunch of black eyed peas and cabbage or greens. Though origins of these traditions are varied, the common reason is tied to good luck, health, and financial prosperity. One tradition is that the Union troops left the black eyed peas in their victory march South believing the crops only for animal consumption. Folks in the South considered this to be good luck that they had such good food to eat after the war.
John in writing to his friend Gaius shared his prayer blessing. I think it is a good prayer to pray over our friends as we begin this New Year.
Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually. 3 For I was very glad when some brothers came and testified to your faithfulness to the truth—how you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 2-4)
A Good Prayer
Here’s how we can pray for our friends.
• That you will prosper in every way.
The abuse of the so-called “prosperity preachers” have perhaps made us timid to pray for God’s favor over our lives. But here is how I understand the difference in what they do and what we seek to do today as guided by this Scripture. Rather than asking God to make us prosperous, I understand that all that we have comes from God. I need God’s blessing over my life. I need God’s favor over my life. I need God’s blessing not because I deserve His blessing, but because I am doomed without His favor.
• That you will physically be well.
We have so many in our fellowship that need God’s hand of healing. I am not ashamed to ask God to help us be well. Again, this shows our dependence upon Him.
• That you will prosper spiritually.
But, here is what I want for all of us in 2018. We pray today for all of us to walk in the truth—to be faithful to the truth this year. We pray for this year to be a year of spiritual growth. To be prosperous in all things and even be physically well, but be in spiritual decline is to waste 2018.
So, we get a great question.
A Great Question
Hear what John is praying. He prays that Gaius’ prosperity and physical health will be in proportion to his spiritual health. What if the same is prayed for you? Are you willing to accept that people pray that your well-being in all things including your health will be in proportion to your spiritual health? In this proportional equation we have two things we really can’t control totally in proportion to the one thing that we can control. Is it that simple? No! There are lots of things we cannot understand, but here’s the prayer: I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health, just as your soul prospers?
Are you ready for your friends to pray this prayer for you?