September 26th 2009

Thanking God For Others

3rd of a series of studies from Philemon

“I always thank God as I remember you in my prayers”

Philemon 1:4 (NIV UK)

Do you thank God for others? 

Showing gratitude for a relationship does not always come naturally. We want to be appreciated more than we want to express appreciation. 

I remember once being particularly down in the dumps. Self-pity was there as it often is. Something had happened and I knew I only had myself to blame but did not want to face up to it. I prayed. I prayed that God would encourage me in some way. Later that same day someone, who was not close to me and who was sometimes very irritating in my estimation, came to me and said something that changed my perspective completely. I was able to admit my fault to myself, and her words to me chased the blues away. That night I thanked God for this person that I had never prayed about before. 

In the passage above it appears that Paul prays about Philemon, and that when he does, he give thanks to God. He remembers the good things about Philemon in prayer. I guess when I mention others in prayer it is normally because I am concerned about some trial he or she may have, or it is because there is some upset that has come between us. But do I think of the positive way God works through others and stop to give thanks for that? I guess, if I am honest, not often enough.

 It is also interesting to analyze Paul’s remarks in the context of the letter he was writing to Philemon. He has a special request to make to Philemon, but wants first of all to recall the relationship that is between them and how he thanks God for it. It is a tactful way to begin this correspondence. 

When is the last time you thanked God for what someone else has said or done? 

Perhaps with the prayer below fill in the blank with a name or names and be specific in thanking God. 

Prayer

Our Father, thank you for ————-, (now be specific).

Amen 

Study by James Henderson 

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