How can you make the world a better place?

Love your neighbor as yourself - Luke 10:25-30 - Verse Image

3 Ways to Show Love to a Hurting World

In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of a Samaritan man who helps a wounded Jew. At this point in time, years of tension had led to a centuries-long conflict between Jews and Samaritans.

But instead of letting the Jew die on the side of the road, the Samaritan stopped what he was doing, noticed the man’s pain, and went out of his way to help. The Samaritan showed compassion and empathy…when nobody else would.

Then, Jesus ends this parable by telling His followers, “You, go and do likewise.”

In a world filled with conflict and hardship, how do we actively live out Jesus’ words in a way that is helpful?

Here are 3 ways we can follow the Samaritan’s example and love our neighbors:

Place Yourself in Someone’s Pain

Sharing someone’s pain allows us to taste what God did for us when He came as a human to endure the cross. When we choose to experience what someone else is going through, we can then show that person true compassion.

Sacrifice Your Plans and Position

The Samaritan invested his time, his money, and his resources into saving the hurting man, just as Jesus surrendered Himself so that we could have abundant life. Sacrificial love costs us something—but the return is healing and forgiveness.

Take Specific Action

The Samaritan showed the Jewish man that he cared by taking care of him. It was that decision that led to restoration. In the same way, we must be willing to repeatedly act in ways that demonstrate empathy, humility, and grace. Compassion, in order to be effective, has to lead to action.

So, who in your life is hurting? How can you step out of your comfort zone and into their pain? Your decision to do that might just lead to healing and restoration.

A Prayer for Empathy

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A Prayer for True Justice

Act Justly. Love Mercy, Walk Humbly. - Micah 6:8 - Verse Image

Our hope for the YouVersion Community is for each person to be on a journey, drawing closer to God and seeking His heart every day. As a community, we have a lot we need to talk about. What happened to George Floyd, and to many others before him, and what continues to happen is tragic, heartbreaking, and unjust. These things should never happen to anyone. We should celebrate the diversity of our global church, but we must also address the disparity that continues to exist. We have a lot of work to do, together, uniting in love as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s pray for boldness—that can only come from our Savior—to confront the injustices and racism in our world.

A Prayer for True Justice

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Plans to Spark Conversation

What are you praying for?

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Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude.

PHILIPPIANS 4:6

Healing? Peace? Protection? A breakthrough? Are you praying for yourself? Or for someone you care about? Whatever you’re praying for, consider inviting someone you trust to pray with you.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

GALATIANS 6:2

Hopefully you’ve already discovered that YouVersion’s new Prayer feature is a great way to keep track of everything you’re praying for. But YouVersion Prayer also lets you include friends in your conversation with God. When you add a Prayer, all you need to do to invite others to pray is tap Share with Friends.

Share with friends on Prayer card

The Prayer Chain feature lets your Bible App Friends share your Prayer with their Friends, who can then share it with their Friends, and so on.

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Allow your Friends and Friends of Friends to share this Prayer

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How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Pray

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What stops you from talking to God regularly?

Becoming comfortable with prayer takes practice. And yet—if we want to grow in our faith, it’s important that we’re able to have honest conversations with our relational God.

So, if you’re not sure what to pray about…

Here are 5 examples of daily prayers:

  1. Pray for God to be Known

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think… to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations…”

EPHESIANS 3:20-21

Example:

God, we know that You are above all things and that by You all things are held together. Today, please be glorified in our world. Would people who have never met You, find You. Amen.

  1. Pray for the World

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

EPHESIANS 6:18

Example:

God, please set the world right. Do what’s best for Your kingdom, and fill Your people with mercy, strength, and bright ideas so that we can spiritually contribute to our world. Amen.

  1. Pray for What You Need

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

PHILIPPIANS 4:6

Example:

God, You know what I need before I do. So please give me what I need today so that I can focus on You, and not on my problems. And, when it comes to tomorrow’s needs, I trust that You will provide. Amen.

  1. Pray for Forgiveness

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

MARK 11:25

Example:

God, You alone know our intentions. Please forgive the people who have wronged me because I have forgiven them. And Lord, forgive me because I’ve also messed up. Please don’t hold our mistakes against us. Amen.

  1. Pray for Healing and Protection

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

JAMES 5:14

Example:

God, there is so much suffering in our world. Please heal the sick and restore peace and life to our weary souls. Protect our bodies and our minds, and give us Your strength to endure temptation and trials. Amen.

These ideas aren’t new—Jesus used them to teach His disciples how to pray 2,000 years ago:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those
who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

MATTHEW 6:9-13

To help you create a regular prayer rhythm, try creating a Prayer List inside your Bible App. Every day, pick a few things from that list to focus on. (You can also invite friends into your conversations with God by sharing your Prayers with them.)

As time goes by, you’ll be able to look back at that list and reflect on what God was doing in your life during that time.

Pray Now

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Feeling Lonely? 4 Ways to Grow Your Friend Group—Even from Home

A dear friend will love
you no matter what.

Proverbs 17:17

Even before COVID-19, more than one in five adults in the U.S. said they felt lonely or isolated.1 Research shows that chronic loneliness even has negative effects on our physical health.2 We all need meaningful connections with people we care about, who care about us. How do we do that?

Start by Being a Friend

Do you want friends who will encourage you? Then become an encourager. Want friends who will help you grow as a person? Then practice listening, and show that you’re willing to change when you learn new things. Whatever you want to see in others, work towards becoming that friend yourself.

  1. Start Praying for Others.
  2. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

    1 Thessalonians 5:11

    Ask someone you know, “How can I pray for you?” Write down what they tell you, then pray for them regularly. Our Prayer feature makes it easy to keep track of everything you’re praying for. Not sure what to pray? Try Verse of the Day Stories. Every day has a Prayer you can pray for yourself—and for friends. When you pray regularly for other people, your empathy and concern for them grows.

  1. Start Having Honest Conversations.
  2. Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

    Proverbs 13:20

    Relationships are built on trust. Trust goes in both directions. Don’t just talk about yourself. Ask a lot of questions, actively listen, and don’t judge. Not sure what to talk about? Do a Bible Plan together, and schedule a regular time to video chat about what God is showing each of you. (Verse of the Day is great for this, too.) The more you invest in each other, the more you’ll enjoy your times together.

  1. Start Serving Others, Together.
  2. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

    Hebrews 10:24

    Serving other people helps you beat loneliness, by taking your focus off yourself and giving you a sense of purpose. Millions of people have lost jobs during the pandemic.3 (If you’re one of them, we’re so sorry.) In most communities, food banks and other charities are busier than ever. Find services with social distancing and sanitizing policies that you’re comfortable with. Or, if you’d rather not leave your house, look for places where you can serve online.

  1. Start Inviting People.
  2. Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.

    Romans 12:10

    Look for Suggested Friends in your Bible App Home feed. You can also tap the Friends icon (Friends icon) at the top of your app, or go to More, Friends and add people from your contacts. Also, be sure you check your Friend Requests in the app. However you choose to add friends, we recommend that you ask only people you actually know, so you’ll be able to have honest exchanges with people you trust.

Whatever You Do…
Just Start.

A Prayer for the Lonely

Father, please meet me where I am. Lord, send people who will reach out to me, and give me ideas of people I can reach out to. Give me courage and strength, and please rescue me from my loneliness.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalms 34:18

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Notes

1 Loneliness and Social Isolation: An International Survey.

2 Loneliness Rivals Obesity, Smoking as Health Risk.

3 Jobless Claims Hit 4.4 Million.