Gratitude and Prayer

Timothy is mentioned as Paul’s partner in the ministry more than any other individual. Paul’s prayer for Timothy shows us how to pray for the people in our lives.

We join Paul in gratitude and prayer for the people God has placed in our lives.

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day (2 Timothy 1.3).

How does prayer fit into a grateful friendship?

Think about your prayer life. More than likely, you pray about the things that concern you most.

Prayer is an expression of concern and love. If we love ourselves supremely, we will pray about our needs most of all. Loving prayers often extend to family and friends.

When we embrace God’s purpose for the world, we will also pray for that.

Prayer expresses a belief that God responds to prayer. It trusts God’s many promises to hear and answer the prayers of his people.

One of the seven prayer promises in John’s gospel is, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15.7).

Have you stopped praying? If you have stopped praying, it may signal a lack of love or faith.

People who are consumed with self-interest and self-sufficiency find prayer uninteresting.

Whether we like to admit it or not, a lack of prayer reflects a lack of faith. Prayer is based on human trust in God’s character and love for us.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11.6).

Faith’s Foundation

We may skip an important point if we read Paul’s words too quickly. Notice what he said with the phrase: “God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did.”

Paul was dependent on the worship of his ancestors, who were the Old Testament heroes of the faith.

Our faith is enriched by those who have gone before us.

I first learned how to preach by reading sermons from Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, and Billy Sunday.

I am indebted to Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Henry Blackaby, and a host of other great men and women of God.

Emory Wallace, a pastor I served with in Louisiana, was my father in the faith.

Take a moment and thank God for the people who were foundational to your faith. Ask God to show you the people you need to influence today.

Timothy’s foundation of spiritual heroes included his mother and grandmother.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you (2 Timothy 1.5).

How many faithful mothers and grandmothers are responsible for the way their children and grandchildren serve the Lord? I expect the number is very large.

Don’t let the flame burn out.

Each person has been given a gift that is an integral part of living with the Holy Spirit.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Corinthians 12.7).

It is possible for the gift of God’s Spirit to lay dormant. Even Timothy had that possibility.

For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands (2 Timothy 1.6).

We can neglect our spiritual gift for the same reasons that we fail to pray. Lack of love and faith will put a damper on gifts of the Spirit.

Self-sufficiency and self-absorption will make the work of the Spirit uninteresting.

People who resemble Paul’s words to the Romans do not cooperate with the Spirit and will not have the Spirit’s gifts active in their lives.

“For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites” (Romans 16.18).

Fear and timidity diminished the fire in Timothy. The service of our appetites and pleasures causes the fire of the Spirit to go out today.

What can we do to rekindle the gift of the Holy Spirit?

The simple answer is to turn away from whatever has diverted us from a life of dependence on the Spirit. Then, we turn to God with a whole heart.

Prayer, Bible reading, and doing the next right thing being led by the Spirit should follow.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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