The Upper Room Devotion for Tuesday, August 15, 2023, was written by Carroll Ellis Cobb of Virginia.
12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 NRSV
Throughout her life my mother prayed diligently. At the top of her prayer list was her family - my father, my sister, and me. When she died, what grieved me most was that the one person who prayed for me every single day of my life was gone. My grief made me realize just how important it is to pray continually for others. So now I have a calendar on my refrigerator that marks the birthdays of people in my life: family, close friends, social media contacts, former work colleagues, church members, and college classmates.
I make it a point to pray diligently for these extraordinary people during the month of their birthday. I contact those I know well and ask if they have anything specific for which they would like me to pray. Sometimes I get a list, sometimes not. Some people on my calendar have no idea that I am praying for them. But I pray anyway. Just as my mother's prayers brought comfort to me, I hope others are encouraged to know I am praying for them. But truth be told, the joy is mine - because when I pray for others, I celebrate the unique and wonderful people God created them to be and the blessings they are in my life.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Who are the people that have prayed for you throughout your life? When I think of the many people who have and continue to pray for me, my maternal grandfather - the late Rev. Jolly Turner - tops the list. Paw Paw, as we affectionately called him, let all his grandchildren know that he loved us and prayed for us daily. Knowing my grandfather was praying for me offered me strength and encouragement.
The Apostle Paul calls us to pray without ceasing, which is to say, to be consistent in taking time to pray. Just like those who have consistently prayed for us throughout our lives, we have the opportunity to cover in prayer those we love and care about. I invite you to start a prayer list of the people and situations you will lift in prayer daily.
O Lord, thank you for the people you have brought into our lives. Bless them with your presence and help them to know how much you love them. Amen.
-Carroll Ellis Cobb