Ecclesiastes is believed to have been journaled by King Solomon when he was older and reflecting on his regrets. One of the things Solomon realized was how vital relationships could be to one’s quality of life and to getting through life successfully. Use these passages over the next seven days to fuel some different kinds of prayer: prayers that are uniquely rooted in our need for community.
“express gratitude to (someone), especially by saying “Thank you”
7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
What if you “had it all”? Among the most highly sought after things in this world are fame, wealth, power, position, education, pedigree, good health, good looks, and wisdom beyond measure. What if once you had these, you discovered that it was all meaningless? When we think of things we are thankful for, we often list things found among those nine categories; we think of them as blessings. But as King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, discovered, these material blessings on their own are meaningless when we exist outside of community, particularly community with God.
We are all on a journey through life. We can go it alone, apart from God, even apart from other people, and end up trying to find satisfaction in the things of the world. However, God has designed us to spend that journey finding great joy in community with him and others. In Galatians 5, we find a different list: one that tells us the fruit, the result, of living life in this type of community. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” When you read this list of nine things, what are you most thankful for? What instances can you recall of experiencing these things in community with others?
Reflect on the fruit of the Spirit listed above (Galatians 5:22-23). Say them slowly, more than once if you need to, and begin thanking God for how he shows you each of these things through others in your community.
Use each of the fruits one by one to form a prayer, an admission, a thank you, or to express a desire of some kind as you begin this second week of our 21 Days of Prayer.
Ask God to reveal to you which of those fruits you need to work on in your own life and with whom you need to share it today in your community.