The return we reap from generous actions is not always evident.
Mr. Guicciardini also reminds us, "Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them." These are indeed wise words, for friendship is one of the things once gained acts as both a means to challenge us to move forward, but also gives us the support to take those first steps in the right direction. I am privileged to know good friends, but no matter what you say, there is always going to be one who stands out above the rest. That 'friend' who sticks with you through thick or thin, and even when they cannot be with you, their support is felt because you know you are never far from their thoughts nor out of their prayers for very long! Generous prayers lifted on your behalf, simply spoken from the heart, but with utmost meaning to those who need that support at that moment!
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG)
We reap much in prayer, sometimes on behalf of another, sometimes for our own use and benefit. Either way, prayer is a powerful tool when spoken in genuine trust to the one who holds all the answers we ever need. Love flourishes when prayer is the beginning point within relationship - it cannot help but flourish, for prayer is communication with the God of ALL love! God allows our feelings to be expressed - he isn't going to turn away from a genuine heart poured out to him in prayer. Moreover, he is willing to listen to even those prayers we sometimes call "arrow prayers" - those ones 'shot up' in a moment of absolute need, trusting that he hears even those simple requests that pierce the darkness of the moment.
Bountiful fruits are a benefit reaped from living honest lives - lives poured out in sacrifice for each other and in genuine love. We can never deny the bountiful grace of God - for it is ever flowing and ever renewed. Fruit doesn't come just once - it returns season after season - but only to the 'tended vine'. The fruit we bear in relationship with each other is because we have 'tended the vine' of that relationship - communicating need, listening to confessions of deep-seated fears, and then responding by taking those things to the one who meets all needs - God himself. Friendship is nothing without prayer. It is nothing without grace. It is everything when it is based in faith and trust in the one who is greater than all our need combined! Just sayin!