I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
A letter needs a certain tone in order to be encouraging. Paul expresses his thanksgiving for the readers of his letter, and because you are a reader, his thanksgiving is also for you. Think about that—thanksgiving for you!
It is often not easy to accept such a message. A self-critical spirit can prevent us from hearing it. Many people are so displeased with their own personalities, actions, and circumstances that accepting appreciation and gratitude is difficult. How refreshing it is when someone is thankful for us and we are able to receive that message thankfully.
Equally encouraging is someone who remembers us in prayer. When times and circumstances are difficult, we are helped by knowing that someone is praying for us. There is so much power in experiencing community and in recognizing that we are not alone in the routine and stressful moments of our lives.
As is often the case, there is another side to this. If we are encouraged by someone’s thanksgiving and prayers, then we will also desire to pray for others. Encouragement builds spiritual character both in the giver and in the receiver. Giving and receiving encouragement will gladden our hearts. Participating in other people’s lives meaningfully is at the core of living together as God’s people in this world.
Dear Lord, teach us to be encouragers for others and to draw strength from the encouragement you give us through your Word. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.
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