Giving Thanks for You
It’s Tuesday morning. I’m sitting in Jacksonville, at one of my favorite coffee shops, Southern Roots Filling Station (It’s really about the food more than the really good coffee!). We spent the long weekend here visiting Michael, Carissa, and Charlie (our grandson). We’re heading back today after we do some blueberry picking later on. Also meeting up with a friend and fellow laborer in Christ this morning for coffee. I arrived early to discover they don’t open until 8:00. But they just set up the wooden folding chairs and tables outside so I am able to sit here under the crepe myrtle and pray. I began by giving thanks for those whom the Lord has gathered around me in Christ. What a means of grace the body of Christ is to us.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
I thank my God every time I remember you. (Philippians 1:3)
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you… (Colossians 1:3)
Paul began his descriptions of his prayer for the churches with how he gave thanks for them. He goes on to describe some of the particulars about that giving of thanks, which undoubtedly encouraged the churches to whom he was writing. What a model of the Christian life for us!
Imagine if our interactions were preceded by prayer for one another. I know for many they are. But imagine further if that prayer was always filled with thanksgiving for how those individuals were being used by God in the world for the gospel, and even for how they ministered to us. And then, imagine if when we saw them, or spoke with them, or texted them, it began with some of the particulars of how we were giving thanks to God for them. What a means of encouragement. And since encouragement is one of God’s means of strengthening us in grace, imagine the long term impact this would have for the Kingdom of God in the world. “Father, may Your Kingdom come!”
This week we have prayer and worship Wednesday evening from 7:30 – 9:00. It is a sweet time of singing worship songs interspersed with time for prayer. The congregational mic is available between the songs for those who would like to lead out in prayer. This time, as we gather to pray, let’s begin our time by giving thanks for one another. Think about those whom the Lord has put in your life – maybe in your community groups, that serve your children in children’s ministry, or that brother or sister who has been a tremendous means of grace to you – and go to the microphone and express your gratitude to God specifically for them! Following Paul’s example it may be that something about their faith, or love, is what you give thanks to God for. Or maybe how they demonstrate an enduring hope that can’t be quenched.
Then, let’s also go on to pray for one another in the various ways the Lord lays on our hearts. Once again, Paul might be helpful as an example for the ways we might consider. His prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, for instance, are rich with language for how we might pray for one another.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening for this time of prayer.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,