Giving Thanks

By: Jessie Yount


I love Paul’s letters to the churches in the New Testament. I love the picture we have of his heart. Did you know that in almost every letter, Paul specifically tells the recipients that he is praying for them and/or thanking God for them. (See the first chapters of Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians 1 & 2, 2 Timothy, and Philemon)

I think we can easily overlook the significance of that.

Take a moment to really let that come to life.

What if you received a handwritten letter in the mail from a dear friend that said, “Hey, I prayed for you today. I pray for you each time I drive by your office. And I thank God for you and for His work in you.”?

How would that make you feel? Would it change your outlook on the day?

Look at what Paul writes to Timothy:

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.  I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Tim 1:3-5)

Paul is so specific in his letters. Don’t overlook his sincerity.

  • He tells Timothy when he prays for him – night and day; constantly.
  • He tells Timothy he misses him and that he will be so happy to see him again.
  • He encourages Timothy in his faith, mentioning his mom and grandma as passing their faith down to him.

What a great, uplifting friend!

In just a few weeks, we will come together as families to celebrate Thanksgiving. If we can put aside the pilgrims and the turkeys, this is a great opportunity to be thankful. Some on social media have begun preparations for this day of gratitude by stating something they are thankful for each day in November. I think this is fantastic. It floods our newsfeed and tweets with appreciative thoughts.

But let’s take Paul’s lead and go further.

Write a letter – even if it’s just a postcard or an email – to a friend that is dear to you. But before you drop it in the mail or hit send, pray for him or her. Pray like Paul does. Be specific, be diligent, and then tell the person you are praying for. Invite them out for lunch or coffee and pray with them. Call them the morning of their doctor’s appointment or test and tell them you are praying for them. Praying. A past prayer that is still happening.

Who are you thanking God for? Who is your Timothy?

Be Paul to that person. Lift them up in prayer to our Father who hears us (1 John 5:14-15).

And let our thanksgiving overflow to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15).

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