By Rachel Britton, Crosswalk.com
Refreshment means to be given new strength or energy, like being poured a cool drink on a hot day. As Christians, we may think of refreshment as being spiritually energized. The Bible, however, speaks of refreshment in many different ways, including the importance of being physically refreshed and bringing refreshment to others. Use the prayers below to bring new strength and energy into all areas of your life and the lives of others.
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1. Refreshment for Your Soul
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3).
The beginning of this well-known, beloved Psalm reminds us that the Lord’s shepherding always brings refreshment. David, a skilled shepherd (1 Samuel 17:34-35), and a sincere shepherd of people who “with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:72) confidently trusts in the Lord as his Shepherd. His personal knowledge of shepherding and of God as his Shepherd, gives us assurance that God’s perfect guidance, protection, and provision leads to restoration for our lives.
Lord God, my Shepherd. Thank You for love and care. Thank You for leading me to places and times where I can be restored and renewed. I want to keep my eyes firmly fixed on You to guide, protect, and provide for me because You will refresh my soul. I will listen for Your voice as I follow you (John 10:27) because where You lead me You provide everything I need. Amen
2. Refreshment by Being Generous
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
There is a relationship between giving refreshment to other people and receiving refreshment ourselves. The word “refreshes” in this verse can mean to “give drink abundantly.” This may not seem like much to us in the western world, where we have plentiful fresh water. However, in biblical times, water was a precious commodity. It implies that giving can be costly. Generosity does not go unappreciated or unnoticed. God fills us up when we pour out.
Heavenly Father, help me to notice who needs refreshment today, whether it is physical, spiritual, or a simple kind word. Prompt me to always be generous so others receive fresh energy and strength, like being given a cool drink on a hot summer’s day. Lord, don’t let me do anything out of selfish gain, but to genuinely pour into another person knowing that you will pour into me what I need. Amen.
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3. Refreshment from Resting
“It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17).
This verse draws attention to God’s example of work. In Hebrew, the word “refreshed” means to breathe freely or recover. In Exodus 23:12 the people were instructed to follow God’s example for themselves and “so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed."
Taking time off is an important component in our lives to help us catch our breath, and allow those we work with, or our families, to recover. Rest leads to refreshment. Often, though, we are tempted to keep going so we can catch up, or because we believe something is so important it cannot wait.
Lord God, I want to follow your example of work and rest that helps me recover. Give me wisdom to review my work and see where I am not getting enough rest to be refreshed, and where I am not allowing others to unplug and be revived. From your Word you made rest for a reason — so I can be refreshed in mind, body, and soul. Help me plan better so I can take time off whether it is from work, school, or housework. Amen.
4. Refreshment from the Word
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” (Psalm 19:7a).
Being in the Word of God refreshes our inner beings. Other Bible translations use “reviving,” “restoring,” or “converting.” These words remind us of Jesus’ invitation as the Word: “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’”
Lord God, thank you for Your Word and for Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you that your instructions for life in the Bible and the invitation of Jesus to follow Him revives my life. As I place my trust in Your Son, Jesus, for the first time or the hundredth time, quench the thirst in my heart. As I turn to your Words in Scripture, refresh me again and again. Amen.
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5. Refreshment for the Weary
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25).
Here in Jeremiah, promises of hope are for those who have endured the exile. God’s promises of hope are also for us when we are weary, and broken with sorrow and affliction. Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” and His promise is, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When we cry out to God for help or healing, God always hears our cries.
Heavenly Father, Lord, I have many troubles, but I trust You to deliver me from them all (Psalm 34:19). I come to You because I am weary and burdened, and I ask You to give me rest. Hear my cry for help. Do not be deaf to my weeping (Psalm 39:12). I wait patiently for You to turn to me, to restore me, and refresh me so I can sing your praises (Psalm 40:1-3). Amen.
6. Refreshment from Others
“May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains” (2 Timothy 1:16).
The Christians in the province of Asia, today’s western part of modern Turkey, had abandoned the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:15), perhaps because of his arrest (2 Timothy 1:12). In contrast, Paul recognized that one man, Onesiphorus, went out of his way to support him and not be ashamed of Paul’s situation. Perhaps you are in a similar situation — someone has supported you or your ministry when no one else has done so. Maybe he or she has gone out of their way to help you or shown you friendship when others have turned their backs. Thank God for the refreshment you have received.
Lord God, I thank you for the support I have received from even one person. When I am tempted to look at those who have not stood by me, remind me to focus on the goodness of this one person. Thank you for the refreshment he/she has provided to me. Lord, shower your goodness on my friend. Amen
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7. Refreshment through Encouraging Words
“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones” (Proverbs 15:30).
There is nothing like receiving good news! Dread disappears immediately and we are reinvigorated. In the same way, positive encouragement, or even one reassuring word can be like “good news” and make another person’s day better. In contrast, someone who complains, or criticizes, can leave us feeling drained. Let’s not be those people. We have much to be joyful about. After all, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ which gives us hope for today, tomorrow, and eternity.
Lord God, I want to have a countenance that shines with Your radiance (Psalm 34:5). I want to speak words that are gracious like honeycomb, sweet for a person’s soul, and uplifting (Proverbs 16:24). I have a future filled with hope. I can live today full of joy. When I’m tempted to complain and focus on the negative, remind me that positive words of encouragement, comfort, and acknowledgment can change a person’s day for the better. I want to be the kind of person who others want to hang out with, because my words are refreshment for their souls. Amen.
8. Refreshment from Repentance
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20).
Peter spoke these words to his fellow Jews, but these words can also be applied to us today. When we turn to God in repentance for our wrongdoing, we know refreshment. The word can also mean relief or rest. When we have resisted and perhaps struggled in our acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord of our lives, we know that rest and relief comes from submitting to Him.
Lord God, where I have resisted Your calling on my life, I now submit to You. As in the words of David in Psalm 51 (VOICE): “Look on me with a heart of mercy, O God, according to Your generous love. According to Your great compassion … Cleanse me from my sins. Give me back the deep delight of being saved by you, let Your willing Spirit sustain me.” Amen.
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9. Refreshment through Meeting with God’s People
“... so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed” (Romans 15:32).
Paul had some difficult work ahead. He told the Christians in Rome: “Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there” (Romans 15:31). But, he looked forward to being with the Romans believers, as in their company he would receive refreshment.
Our times with other believers should be times of refreshment as we worship together, pray for each other’s problems, and draw nourishment from the teaching of God’s Word. We should not neglect spending time with God’s people, for through them we, too, can receive refreshment.
Lord God, help me to never neglect my time with Your people. Remind me of the encouragement I received when I last worshiped, prayed, and was fed through your Word. As Hebrew 10:24-25 says (my paraphrase): let me not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing. Amen.
10. Refreshment from Providing Hospitality
“Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant” (Genesis 18:5).
Abraham’s welcome in this verse reflects the emphasis on hospitality throughout the Old Testament and its continuation in the New Testament as a setting for Jesus’ work (Mark 2:15-17) and importance for the early church (1 Timothy 3:2). Being a good host or hostess includes bodily sustenance through food and drink, overnight accommodation, and even care for animals! We too can bring refreshment to our guests, whether family, friends, or strangers, and in this way our hospitality may reach heaven itself (Hebrews 13:2).
Lord God, never let me forget the importance of being hospitable to everyone who crosses my path and who I have the opportunity to invite into my home. I thank you for the examples of hospitality throughout the Bible. In particular, I think about how Jesus shared meals with those who were unwelcomed. Remind me of who I can show friendship and neighborliness to today so they might know of Your love for them. Amen.
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