18Pray for us. Our consciences are clear, and we always try to live right. 19I especially want you to pray that I can visit you again soon.
Final Prayers and Greetings
20God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God's eternal agreement with his flock. 21 I pray God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen.
22My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said.
23By now you surely must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you.
24Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord's people.
His followers from Italy send you their greetings.
25I pray that God will be kind to all of you!
When something hard happens in your life, like unexpected illness or financial difficulty, the dissolution of a relationship or the loss of a dream, how do you respond? Do you pray, committing your pain and confusion to God? Or do you pick yourself up and carry on as if nothing has changed?
Prayer should be our first thought, not an afterthought when we have exhausted everything else. Simply put, prayer is talking to God about everything and everyone. Bringing and making all our thoughts, feelings, hopes, desires known to him. But it is not just speaking. It is an acknowledgment that we are not in control. It takes honesty, humility, and courage. The writer of Hebrews ends this letter by humbly and without excuse asking for prayer. The Message translates verse 18, “Pray for us . . . We have no doubts about what we’re doing or why, but it’s hard going and we need your prayers . . . All we care about is living well before God.” Prayer is honestly admitting we can’t do life on our own, in our own strength.
Along with prayer, the writer also reveals the one to whom we are praying. He is Jesus, the good shepherd. This vivid biblical image is threaded throughout scripture. We are most familiar with it in Psalm 23. As our good shepherd, Jesus acts out of love, sacrifice, joy, rescue, and restoration towards us, his sheep. It is his blood that binds us to him through his sacrifice for us in an everlasting relationship (v 20). This is no casual shepherd. He takes our waywardness and need for him very seriously. It’s why he’s good. In the Greek, the word for ‘good’ is kalos. It has the connotation of beautiful and honourable, all related to love. This is the type of love the shepherd has for us! May it spur us on today to pray to him who “will be kind” to us all (v 25).
Thank you, Jesus, that you are my good shepherd. I often wander away from you, thinking I can do my life on my own. Sometimes I forget to talk to you; or worse, act as it you don’t even exist. Forgive me. Come and find me and bring me back to you. Amen.