“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1:2-3)
Early on in our current Sunday morning sermon series through Paul’s first letter to the Thesselonians we were reminded of Paul’s habit of praying for the people from his past. It is obvious from this common pattern within his letter writing that he had developed the spiritual discipline of praying for those that came to mind in the moment.
We all want to pray more, and especially for loved ones. But the busyness of life gets in the way. Paul gives us a great habit to form here! When God brings someone to mind, for whatever reason, stop and pray.
Give thanks for them, or lift up a need, or ask God to pour out his love and hope on their lives. God uses many things in our lives as memory markers, maybe a restaurant, or a song, or a color! Paul had met so many people during his travels, but something must have made him think of these particular people, and when it did He prayed! He thanked God for them and lifted up their work of the gospel to God.
How much more would I pray if I developed this habit? Especially for those negative memories. Those ghosts that haunt my past. Why not pray for the people involved in your past instead of allowing shame or bitterness to set in?
The Holy Spirit will bring people to mind just when they need a prayer warrior to call out on their behalf. Don’t ignore those seemingly random memories when they bubble up. If we do this, we too can say as Paul did so often, “I thank God for you, remembering you often in my prayers.”
Your Friend in the Gospel,