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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”—Colossians 1:3 (NKJV)
It’s true. The degree to which I am “thankful” for someone in my life affects how close I get to “praying always” for them.
Many of us have an intimate circle filled with family and friends. When we’re grateful for people in our lives, treasuring their presence in our days, it’s natural for us to pray more frequently for them. When we love someone, we’re interested in what’s going on with them. So, we pray about their circumstances and their future, because we hunger for God’s best in their lives.
I don’t have to put a reminder on my bathroom mirror to pray for these friends and their concerns because they are naturally on my mind throughout my day. You probably have several people for whom you pray for regularly because their lives are so interwoven with yours that their burdens become your burdens.
But what about the next circle? For me, these are the people I am connected to but not intimately. Perhaps it’s a friend of a friend that has you seeking God for them. Remembering these requests might not be as easy.
I am ashamed to admit how many times I’ve posted “praying” on a Facebook status, but really it was just a way to say, “I saw this and you are important to me and I want you to know I care,” rather than being an accurate reflection that I was actually praying for them. So I learned to stop saying it and start doing it.
I know, sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.
If I run into you at the grocery store and you ask me to pray for your brother, we’re praying right then. I may not close my eyes or raise my voice for the amen, but it’s the only way to insure my promise to pray is a reality and not a lie . . . so we’re going to do it right then.
But even as I work to ensure I am praying, maybe not always but at least a little, today’s verse reveals I have overlooked an essential ingredient: thankfulness. This was something the apostle Paul made a habit out of (see also Philippians 1:4) and so should we! Think about it . . . How would it impact our prayers and the lives of others if we stopped to thank God for them before voicing their need? We might discover thanking God for them is the secret to moving our prayers for them up the frequency scale toward “always.”
DIG: Write out your own definition of “always” when it comes to your prayers.
DISCOVER: What are some of the ways you remember to pray for someone? Do you use a prayer journal, a note in your phone, or rely on your memory? If your method isn’t effective, change it up.
DISPLAY: When you pray for someone, begin to practice thanking God for them. Make note of whether you find your prayers more frequent, more fervent, or even more heartfelt.
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Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.