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By: James River Church08/10/22

21 Days of Fasting & Prayer Devotional – Day 10: The Power of Encouragement

Over the years, psychologists have studied the power of our words and found that they have a profound effect on the human brain. One study of how encouragement helps athletes’ performance concluded that successful athletic performance is not just based on natural skill and level of training, but on frame of mind. When athletes are motivated with encouraging words, their performance increases for the better.


The truth is, words have great power. Words can either breathe life or death into the soul, build up someone’s spirit or tear it down. They either encourage or discourage – there is no middle ground.


That is why both the words we digest and the words we speak each day are so critical. Reading the Word of God is a way to build yourself up. We are encouraged when we read Scriptures like Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”


The Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of encouragement in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” One of the amazing results of intentionally encouraging others is how encouraged you become through it!

The reality is that encouragement is not natural; therefore, it must be cultivated. So, what are some ways we can become carriers of courage and build up the hope of those around us?


Smile – Did you know that smiling is contagious? In fact, studies show that smiling increases mood-enhancing hormones while decreasing stress-enhancing hormones. It also reduces blood pressure and releases happy endorphins in your brain. When you smile, it not only changes you, it has a direct impact on those around you and leaves them more encouraged.


Speak Encouragement – People everywhere need encouragement – in your workplace, in your neighborhood, at your sporting events, and even in the church. An encouraging word can literally change the course of a person’s day and even their life!


Many are aware of the close friendship of renowned authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien was highly influenced by Lewis’s encouragement for him to write “The Lord of the Rings.” The encouraging words of C.S. Lewis spurred Tolkien on toward what has become a literary masterpiece read by millions.


Write it out – Spoken words are powerful, but there is something special about written words – they last forever. A simple card or text message reminds someone that they are valuable and seen can go a long way.


Compliment – Enter your day with the mindset of what you can give rather than what you can get. How can I compliment someone I interact with today? How can I make them feel valued?


To encourage someone is to impart courage to them. Every day we have the opportunity to leave a conversation, a meeting, or an interaction better than we found it, and that happens through our words. Choose to use your words to bring life everywhere you go!



1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.


Proverbs 12:25 (NLT)

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.