A Bible Study On The Prayer Of 3 John 1:2

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What does the Apostle John’s prayer of 3 John 1:2 mean, exactly?

Simple Phrases

There is a very simple phrase that we often read in many places, like in letters or messages from our friends, well wishes on greeting cards, and on posters or wall frames. We see and say it so often that we sometimes forget what it really means. Throughout the Bible, we read verses that start with these words. They are genuine prayers from an apostle to the church, or from one friend to another, however, from all the prayer requests recorded in Scripture, this one stands out for me and it’s from the Apostle John. It says, “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers” (3 John 1:2). In many ways, this is the most wholesome prayer you can say for yourself and for a friend. Let’s take a few moments to look at what this verse means.

Prospering in Every Way

In today’s world, the prosperity message has taken on a whole new meaning in our pulpits, where the call to give to God is often associated with receiving wealth back from God. My idea of prosperity though is simple—that you succeed in all you do. Think about it. Succeeding is just getting the right outcome to something you are trying to achieve. So, in the case of a child learning to ride a bike, success is riding a two-wheeler. To a single mom, success may be seeing her son graduate from high school. To a businessman, it may be getting the license approved to start a new company.

True Success

The concept of success differs from person to person and depends on the situation, but success is more than achieving what we desire. The benefit of success is what it does to us. It’s the feeling that comes from accomplishing something. The satisfaction of finishing something you started; the joy from reaping the rewards of something you labored hard for. That’s what John was praying about. We get reenergized when we succeed at something, and sometimes that energy is sustained by the joy and the prosperity that John prayed for when he prayed for them to prosper in every way. What a wonderful prayer to say every day and teach our kids to do the same. Imagine how their lives would be if they succeeded in their endeavors more often, and how satisfying our lives would be if we succeeded in our own things—big and little. The next time someone talks about prosperity, don’t think your bank account; instead, think about little things like a safe trip to work.

In Good Health

This second part of the prayer goes without saying. What would you be able to do if your health was failing? I’m guessing not much. You could have all the resources you needed but if you have no energy to enjoy it, what good is it? If you’ve ever had a health scare or have someone close to you going through a health situation, you’d agree that health is indeed wealth. A major health catastrophe could leave many of us bankrupt, but I believe John was saying this prayer for good health so that we can live the life God designed for us for; to appreciate every waking moment. If you have your health intact, you should wake up each day saying a word of thanks to God. And if you’re going through a tough health situation right now, I would encourage you to keep asking God for His strength and healing, and continue to live each day with courage, knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you. Even if we don’t understand why we’re going through this, take courage in the fact that God has you in the palm of His hands, and He will never forget His own children. His healing power will find you and restore you back to good health; either in this age or the age to come.

A Prospering Soul

This is my favorite part of this prayer. When it’s all is said and done, health and wealth don’t compare to having a relationship with God. After all, we are spirit beings. While we are alive and do the best we can to have a healthy and prosperous existence, in the end, we will all die, exiting this present world. So, what happens next? This prayer is focused on helping us realize the most important part of our life is our relationship with God. Do you know him? Does he know you? John prays here that we know God through his Son Jesus Christ, and that we continue to grow and prosper in our love and relationship with Him, so when the end of our time on earth comes, we can have hope in eternity as we’ll finally be with our God.


The prayer of 3 John 1:2 is one that touches our spirit, soul, and body—the three areas that need to function well if we are to have a good life, so whether you know how to pray or not, I encourage you to say this prayer daily, and teach your kids and family to do the same. Extend the love of God to others around you by saying a word of prayer that touches every aspect of their lives in a way that can completely transform them…that they would be saved. In fact, let’s start right now and say it with me: “Lord, I pray that those around me succeed in every way, that they have good health, and that their soul prospers in their relationship with Him. And, if they don’t know Him, I pray that they would repent and believe in the only One who can save them (John 3:16).  Amen.”

About the Author

Seye Oke is the resident blogger on www.hersides.com, a Christian blog that publishes inspirational articles based on biblical principles to promote wholesome and authentic Christian living. Seye is also a published author of A Time to Heal, Love’s Lie, Sleeping Bags, Barrow Boy and Debbie’s Diary. Her creative works are usually based on biblical principles told in a contemporary African style. Her latest book ‘A Time to Heal’ was nominated for the International Book Awards – Religious Fiction Category.

Here is some related reading for you: 10 Prayer Tips: How to Talk to God

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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