I am so grateful for many things. I am grateful that God blessed me with such a loving husband and three beautiful children. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head. I am grateful for the many ways that God has provided our needs and how creative He has been in His provision. I am grateful for the creek and trees that are behind our duplex and for the little garden I have been able to grow on our deck this summer and for the bounty of tomatoes that are still coming. I am grateful for my job and the wonderful co-workers there. I am grateful for the birds that are currently singing through my patio door. I am also grateful for the many people that God has put in my life and invested in me to see me grow in my relationship with God. I am grateful that God has shown me many more people who have sacrificed their desires to see that others come to know the One and Only God who loves them so dearly.
Ephesians 1:15-16 says, "Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly..." As I was studying Ephesus, I found that Paul had spent three years there before going back to Jerusalem where he would be arrested and sent to Rome. These are people that he grew close to and loved. One of the reasons he was drawn to Ephesus in the first place was because he found out that there were believers there that were hungry to learn more. The church in Ephesus had also faced a lot of opposition and they continued to grow. Paul had dedicated his life to spreading the hope we have in Christ to the world and he was so thankful to hear that there were believers that had a strong faith in Christ and loved God's people. I imagine that it was such a breath of fresh air to learn of believers that loved as God called them to love.
When I was in Zambia, I saw believers who had nothing worshiping with uninhibited joy. I saw believers who sang to God with all that was in them even though they didn't know when they would have their next meal. I met believers who were living in poverty and still served those who were dying of AIDS. I met believers who had to wait until Sunday to hear God's Word because they did not own a Bible. It humbles me greatly when I think of them and I am grateful for their amazing faith. I am also humbled because I haven't thanked God for them or kept them in my prayers. I believe that God puts people in our lives so we can pray for them and it is a both a responsibility and an honor to pray for others (Ephesians 6:18). Let's not forget that there are believers around the world facing poverty, starvation, disease, and persecution and we need to be praying for them. Let's not forget the believers who live in complete abandon to their desires in order to please our heavenly Father.
Who has God put in your path to pray for? Pray for the believers around the world. Who are you thankful for?