The God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction…
The word translated here as encouragement, or in other translations as consolation, or comfort, is paraklesis from the Greek kaleo, to call, and para, which means “by the side of.” The word used in John’s Gospel for the Holy Spirit is parakletos, “the one who is called to one’s side,” or “Advocate” (see 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7, and 1John 2:1). Paul uses it, as he does here, as paraklesis, a “calling to one's aid” for encouragement or comfort.
The interesting thing is that in today’s short reading (seven verses) the word occurs ten times. This tells us something about Paul’s understanding of Christianity, and of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul’s God is a God of encouragement, consolation, and comfort. And, significantly, he is this by being a God “at our side.”
Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us.”
In addition to division, the strategy of the devil is discouragement. This is true in our personal life and in our ministry. The devil is constantly telling us, in open or in subtle ways, that we are no good and can do no good.
Jesus, on the other hand, is constantly telling us, “I chose you, and chose you to bear fruit; fruit that will endure… Take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 15: 16, 16:33).
For encouragement, when you are actually engaged in ministry and when you are not, pray the WIT prayer: Lord, do this with me, do this in me, do this through me.
Meditation: Give some thought to what Paul says: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:3).