This past weekend I was able to attend the Passion Conference in Houston. It was such a great time of learning more from the Word and praising my Savior with 17,000 other people! To say that I was shocked to see that many people coming to a conference that is rooted in Christ and His Gospel would be an understatement. Sure, I know there are a lot of Christians out there, but this was just a crazy sight. I couldn’t help but think to myself, What if these 17,000 people really lived radically for Christ? Wouldn’t we be able to turn the world upside down working for His Kingdom?! No matter who these people were in the past or where they came from, we were all together in the name of Jesus Christ. It was unreal and definitely an encouragement.
Throughout the weekend, the Lord led me to be thankful and prayerful. I couldn’t help but thank my God for bringing all of these people together under one roof to hear of His saving, life-giving Gospel. I couldn’t help but stand in the midst of 17,000 college kids and pray. I prayed that the Lord would work in each life. I prayed and prayed the first night. I didn’t know why I was praying so much for these strangers, but I prayed. Who am I to have seen the love of Christ? No one really. Each of the young people who surrounded me also needed, so desperately, to see His love. They also needed to be overwhelmed by their sin and the act of love Jesus Christ portrayed on the Cross. So I prayed. I hoped and prayed that each heart would be touched by the Spirit and that each set of eyes would see a glimpse of Jesus. I knew God was there, and I knew all things were being done in His name to open each and every one of our eyes to what they needed to be open to.
God has been teaching me a lot about how to be a thankful and prayerful person through the example of Paul.
Paul loved the Church.
When writing to the churches for various reasons, he begin a lot of his letters like this:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
In each of these portions, Paul was thankful and prayerful. He would soon go on to correct and encourage them to continue to walk in Christ and in a worthy manner of the Gospel. But first and foremost, he needed the saints to know that he loved them. Sometimes we can tell people all we want that we love them. We can even show them that we love them by little acts of kindness and selflessness. That’s all really good and needed, but are we praying for them? Are we thanking God for them? Paul showed his love by thanking God for his brothers and sisters who were striving to be more like Christ. No matter the sin they were struggling with or the circumstances their church was in, he was thankful to God for them. He was thankful for their love, steadfastness and hope. And he prayed tirelessly. He prayed always for the people that he loved.
One of the best parts of the Passion weekend was being able to spend time with my sisters in Christ. I don’t understand why God blessed me with them, but He did because He loves me and I know that is a good enough reason.
My sisters in Christ are more than a blessing. I see Christ in them. I see that they are complete in Christ. I see they have dedicated their lives to living in and pleasing Christ. I am SO thankful for them. I am thankful that they have the heart to obey Christ in all that they do. I am so thankful that they choose Him over all else. I love that they have said yes to God and I couldn’t be more thankful to Him for blessing me with them. I pray that their hearts are transformed by the Lord’s will and not their own. I pray for them just as I pray for myself. I pray for them because I love them.
The Lord has done amazing things in our lives. He has transformed us and given us a new hope, a sweet hope. But even more than what He has done in our own, personal lives, He has chosen others to work for Him too. Whether our brothers or sisters in Christ who we are so close to, or the thousands of people who are striving to know Christ and to remain grounded in the Gospel, we must endure in prayer and voice our thankfulness to the Lord for what He is doing in their lives. We must love with thankfulness and prayer.
Today, let’s thank God and pray for our fellow workers of the Kingdom.
Remember, if you love them, you’ll pray for them.