16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
Dear heavenly Father, you are so over-the-top good to us—so irrepressibly kind and incessantly faithful. Thank you for the eternal encouragement and good hope you have already blessed us with in the gospel. There is zero doubt about where history is going, or what we will enjoy forever and ever. No eye has seen, ear heard, or mind imagined the things you guarantee us through the finished work of Jesus.
You love us now as much as you will love; the saints in heaven are more joyful than us but not one bit more secure; and we are as legally justified as we will ever be. O such marvelous, inexhaustible, God-praising grace!
17 encourage your hearts
Father, it’s precisely because we have eternal encouragement that we unabashedly look to you for fresh encouragement. Some of us are right in the middle of hardships and heartaches, relational messes or difficult stories that are depleting our emotional and spiritual resources. So with palms up, we make ourselves subjects of Paul’s prayer in this text: indeed, encourage our hearts as you alone can. By your Holy Spirit, assure us that you are aware and in control, engaged and at work. Forgive us when we think otherwise.
and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Yes, and strengthen us to move forward, Father. It’s not like life’s other responsibilities stop when we are in crisis or semi-crisis mode. Give us power to do the next right gospel thing, and fill our hearts and mouths with your grace. Help us to worship more than we worry, bless more than we curse, and rest more than we resent. Forgive us for trying to be self-sufficient, Father. Free us to share our burdens and load with others. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.