I Pray that...

‘I pray that . . .’A very simple phrase that we often read in many places, like in letters from friends, well wishes greeting cards, posters or wall frames. We see it so often and say it even more often that sometimes we forget what it really means. Throughout the bible, we read verses that start with these words. They are genuine prayers from an apostle to his followers, or from one friend to another. However, of all the ‘I pray that’ verses, this one stands out for me: “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” 3 John 1:2. In many ways, this is the most wholesome prayer you can say for yourself and for a friend. Let’s take a minute to look at what it is about.
I pray that you prosper in every way

In today’s world, the prosperity message has taken on a whole new meaning in our pulpits, where the call to give to God is often associated with receiving wealth back. My idea of prosperity, though, is simple—that you succeed in all you do. Think about it. Succeeding is just getting the right outcome to something you are trying to achieve. So, in the case of a child learning to ride a bike, success is riding a two-wheeler. 

To a single mom, success may be seeing her son graduate from high school. To a businessman, it may be getting the license approved to start a new company. The concept of success differs from person to person and from situation to situation. But more than achieving what we desire, the benefit of success is what it does to us. It’s the feeling that comes from accomplishing something. The satisfaction of finishing something you started, the joy from reaping the rewards of something you labored hard for. That’s what John was praying about. 

We all know that we get reenergized when we succeed at something. It’s that continued energy, the joy and the profits that John prayed for when he was saying I pray you succeed in every way. What a wonderful prayer to say every day and teach our kids to do the same. Imagine how their lives would be if they succeed in their endeavors, and how satisfying ours would be if we succeed in our own—the big and the little things. The next time someone talks about prosperity, think beyond your bank account; instead, think about little things, like a safe trip to work or a safe delivery. That’s real prosperity.

I pray that you enjoy good health

This second part of the prayer goes without saying. What would you be able to do if your health was failing? I’m guessing not much. You could have all the monies in the world stacked up in your bank account but no energy to enjoy it. If you’ve ever had a health scare or have someone close to you going through a health situation, you’d agree that health is indeed wealth. I believe John was saying this prayer for us to have good health to live the life God designed for us and also for us to appreciate every waking moment. 

If you have your health intact, you should wake up each day saying a word of thanks to God for this. And if you are going through a tough health situation, I would encourage you to keep asking God for his strength and healing, and continue to live each day with courage, knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you. Even if we can’t always understand why we have to go through things we do, take courage in the fact that God has you in the palm of his hands, and he will never forget you. His healing power will find you and restore you back to good health.

I pray that your soul prospers

This is my favorite part of this prayer. When all is said and done, health and wealth don’t stand a chance if you have no relationship with God. After all, we are spirit beings. While we are alive and do the best we can to have a healthy and prosperous existence, at the end we will die and exit this world. So, what happens next? This prayer is focused on helping us realize the most important part of our life is our relationship with God. Do you know him? Does he know you? John prays here that we all know God through his son Jesus, and that we continue to grow and prosper in our love and relationship with him. So, when the end of our time on earth comes, we can have a new hope in the life we face after, in eternity with our God.

This prayer of John is one that touches our spirit, soul, and body—three areas that needs to function well if we are to have a great life. So, if you don’t know how to pray, or even if you do know how to pray, I encourage you to say this prayer daily, and teach your kids and family to do the same. In fact, let’s start right now, say with me: “Lord, I pray that I succeed in every way, that I have good health, and that my soul prospers in the relationship I have in you.” Amen.