“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,” (Philippians 1:3–4, ESV)
I thank God for you!
Who have you thanked God for today? Paul’s remembrance of the Philippians would elicit gratitude. And he remembered the Philippians often. He says that always in every prayer the joy is swelling.
So do you offer prayers of thanksgiving for other people? It is easy to take other people for granted.
We easily look at other people as:
- Obstacles we blame for hindering our ambitions.
- Vehicles we use as a means to accomplish our objectives.
- Irrelevancies that we ignore.
In other words, we can see other people as objects. We see them as either an asset or a liability. And if they are neither an asset nor a liability, we look past them. This happens when we become self-focused.
Do you tend to get frustrated with others? Other people in our lives bring us challenges. Throughout my years of ministry, I have often said that ministry is messy. People come with all sorts of quirks. They sin by gossiping. They are prideful and stubborn. Sometimes they are rude and unkind. How often do we focus on all that is wrong with others rather than all that is right?
God’s invitation is to see others as more than objects. He invites us to look past their difficulties. He invites us to see them as people just like us. Thank God for the messed up people in your life. Thank God that they are not perfect. Otherwise, you would not fit in very well. I have often thought about putting a sign out in front of our church that says, “no perfect people allowed.”
Prayer has a way of shaping our hearts and attitudes. When we start to pray for other people, we start to see them as God would have us see them. We start to see the good in them. It is hard to be angry towards someone you are praying for. They become more than objects to blame, to use, or to ignore. They become partners in carrying out our common kingdom mission.