I still remember the retreat that changed my life. I had spent most of the year recovering from a traumatic anxiety attack that I experienced in the spring. I was making progress by volunteering at my parish and attending a retreat in the summer, but it was this retreat in September that ended up being my first major milestone on my road to recovery.
I was familiar with the concept of receiving affirmation notes from the retreats I went to in my college years, but nothing prepared me for the loving affirmation letters that I received on the last day of that September retreat. I had never met these people up until I got introduced to them at the retreat and yet, they have all been praying for me months before we ever met. So even though I was lost in my trauma, God was already working through these people to bring me out of the dark through their prayers.
Today’s passage from Ephesians reads just like an affirmation letter. It praises the reader for their faith and goes into a long intercessory prayer, hoping that the reader will realize the greatness of God and receive His wisdom.
The passage also mentions the length of Christ’s great saving power. There’s an example of that from the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus heals the paralytic that came down from the roof through the help of his friends.
How amazing is it that God has the power to work through our prayers and lift other people out of whatever trauma that they have suffered?
By the end of this September retreat, I wrote this in my journal:
“How can I feel alone when I know now how many people are praying for me? How can I feel unloved when the evidence is clear: I am loved! I’m so happy that I went to this retreat. I’m so glad that I met so many wonderful, loving people and I want to hug all of them.”
Through the prayers of the saints and my guardian angel, the support of my parents, and the wonderful people I met at the retreat, I found something new: a sense of belonging and community.
I hope that today’s passage becomes an affirmation letter for you and inspires you to be an intercessor for others in your prayers.
How has intercessory prayer changed a situation that you or someone else has experienced?
What was the kindest thing someone wrote to you?
Action: Write an affirmation letter to someone in your church or circle of friends.