For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
I want to tell you about Charlie. Charlie is a friend of mine. We didn’t grow up together; he didn’t just live down the street; we didn’t play video games until crazy hours in the night. In fact, Charlie is old enough to be my grandfather, but for the past 16+ years Charlie has been one of my biggest advocates through prayer.
In the second half of the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he begins a prayer. But before actually praying he lets the believers of this church know that he thinks of them, gives thanks to God for them, and commits them to prayer. This idea of praying for others in known as “intercession” — praying on someone’s behalf for things they can’t pray for, or to add your voice to what they are also seeking of God. At Remix we talked about how this prayer of Paul’s (found in verses 17-23) can be understood as being for us, but can also be a motivator for us to be in prayer for other believers as well. Paul is modeling for us that we should be thinking of, thanking God for, and praying for other believers.
My friend Charlie followed Paul’s example. When I was in fourth or fifth grade he took notice of me at our church and, without me knowing, began to pray for me that God would grow me and use me for His glory. Now, I didn’t show any great potential back then (I’m still not sure I do), but for whatever reason (because he is a godly man, seeking to do godly things) Charlie decided the he would faithfully pray for me. For the first years of this I didn’t even know that he was doing it. Sure, I got to know who he was (the dad of our Senior Pastor) and enjoyed talking to him at church, but I’m not sure I actually discovered he had been praying for me until I was in high school. Suffice to say I have cherished our relationship greatly and have always counted on those prayers. Not only have they given me a greater confidence in my endeavors, but it has also given me the joy of sharing with Charlie the different ministry related milestones in my life (going to Biola, graduating from Talbot, preaching my first sermon) as well as the more personal milestones of my life (marrying Rebecca and the birth of our son).
It was a cool moment as I was preparing for a sermon I gave a couple of Sundays ago on this very passage when I realized two things: 1) Charlie is a great example to me of a Paul praying for other believers, and 2) I was studying out of an Ephesians commentary that Charlie had given to me as a graduation gift! What a blessing this man has been in my life, and in turn I thank God for him whenever he comes to mind, and I pray for him as well. Thank you Charlie… may I too be a measure of God’s grace in other people’s lives.
What about you? Who are you praying for? Thanking God for? And who is thanking God and praying for you? Now is a great time to find both.