“I thank God whom I serve . . . as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” (2 Timothy 1:3)
I’m more persuaded than ever that God’s work in my life is a direct answer to the prayers of people.
When I was in high school, our pastor assigned a senior to every student in the student ministry (we had a lot of seniors in our church — people who had much time to sit and pray). I was assigned to a woman named Evelyn White. She gave me a Bible that her husband had given to her in 1952, and it was one of the earliest Bibles I ever studied. All through high school I would go over to her house about once every other month, and she would say, “Oh James, let me pray for you.” And she would place her hand on me and pray. I had never heard anyone pray like that. She would ask Him to use my life. She would pray against sin in my life and for purity and a good attitude and perseverance. She called out to God for me!
Evelyn went to be with the Lord early in the ‘90’s but the mark that her prayers made on my life was indelible. I thank God for her ministry in my life.
The lifetime lesson I learned from Evelyn is that we don’t have to go through the Christian life alone. The Lord places friends around us, sometimes unexpected friends, who will pray for us — who will lift up our name before “the throne of grace, so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Timothy had such a friend in Paul. The apostle wrote to his young associate and said, “I thank God whom I serve . . . as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day” (2 Timothy 1:3). Notice that Paul says”I thank God.” Did you know that not one time in the Bible are we ever commanded to thank other people? It’s not wrong to do so but, biblically, the One we are supposed to thank is God.
The Bible instructs us to see every blessing as coming from our heavenly Father (James 1:17). The person to whom thanks is due is not the preacher, not the next-door neighbor, and not even my friend who did that nice thing. Paul doesn’t say, “Hey Timothy, thanks for being such a great guy.” No. He says, “I thank God for you” — God, the Provider of every good gift; God, the One in whom alone we can trust.
Paul then says, “I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” Do you realize that people who might not even know you are praying for you?
Before our church, Harvest Bible Chapel, ever began, we used to have hour-long prayer meetings two, three, four, or five days a week. We’d be on our knees at the church office, calling out to God. Do you know who we were praying for? You! You say, “You don’t even know me.” Perhaps, but we were praying that God would allow us to reach you and impact your life. In a major way, Walk in the Word is a ministry outgrowth of Harvest Bible Chapel. Even then, we were asking God to cultivate in our hearts an understanding of what it would really mean to minister to you and to care for you and to build into your lives hope and truth and faith in God’s Word. Now, every week, we at Walk in the Word continue to pray for marriages, for lost loved ones, for healing, for rebellious children — whatever needs you make known to us.
You have friends who love you and pray for you. We are your friends and we love you and we pray for you. Persevere in doing what is right — someone is praying for you.
Copyright 2003 – Walk in the Word. Used by permission. Dr. James
MacDonald is the Bible teacher on the daily national radio program Walk in the Word. If you enjoyed this devotional, visit us weekly at walkintheword.com