See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. Heb. 3:12–14 NIV

Lord Jesus, I’m so grateful for the close friends you’ve woven into my heart and story. As an introvert, the journey of investing in long-term relationships requires time, tenacity, and an ongoing supply of your grace.

I’ve already gripped a casket handle of a couple of friends, just as my friends will do the same for me one day. More than ever, I want all of us to finish well—no one flaming out, burning out, or running out. Life is just too short to fritter away on broken cisterns or fool’s gold, busyness or the illusion of “finally having enough.”

My temptation is to treat my easiest friendships like an old pair of my Birkenstocks. I enjoy them without much thought or effort. It’s awesome to have a few friends who can finish each other’s sentences and endure one another’s jokes, appreciate each other’s quirks and accept one another’s weaknesses. Surely this is a gospel gift. But good friendship is more than easy friendship.

Each of us is still prone to wander and ongoing targets for temptation, in need of daily mercy and vital fellowship with you, Jesus. By your Holy Spirit, keep revealing more of your beauty to each of us. Dazzle us with your beauty and compel us with your love. May we be more childlike in faith, and less childish in life.

Help us know how to hold each other accountable for believing and applying the gospel. Make us tenacious encouragers and quick repenters. Free us to take each other’s heart struggles seriously, never minimizing the deceitfulness of sin and its hardening power. May we ever be gossiping the gospel to each other, until this day gives way to that Day. So very Amen I pray, in your faithful and glorious name.