Read Colossians 4:2; Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I'm thankful for the commands of God and how He enables us to carry them out. He gives both the strength and the means to do so when I take advantage of His resources.
For example, 1 Thessalonian 5:17 tells us to pray all the time. Of course, we know that we can't spend life kneeling in prayer. There are joys as well as tasks to attend to, and they also are given to us by God. That's why I'm thankful for the little reminders the Lord sprinkles throughout our ordinary days that remind us to pray. May I share a Christmas example? When we pull out the large plastic ornament container each year, there are favorite decorations I look for first. Among the treasured ones are two crocheted Santas that are more than 40 years old. They are getting a bit frayed around the edges, but they are special because of their origin. They were given to us by the wife of an independent cab driver we knew when we lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. The lady who made them was Kim, and the cab driver was named Joe. The Santas are extra precious to us because one is Black and the other is White, a sweet and fitting gift for us. When they are positioned on the Christmas tree, they are a reminder to me of both a reason to praise the Lord and a reminder to pray for some precious people we will probably never meet.
A Reason to Praise God! When we lived in Little Rock, I often needed to take a cab. When we met Joe, we found someone who though he was not a Christian, was trustworthy and reliable. He came on time, and it was safe to ride with him. That was a gift from God. I marvel that God uses a variety of people, both those who belong to Him and those who don't, to take care of His children. What a Good Shepherd we have, Psalm 23, and those Santa ornaments remind me of that. When I can't help a loved one who is far away or when I lack the ability or resources to help someone nearby, I am reminded that God provided Joe. He has helpers for our loved ones that we can't imagine, and He cares about them more than we can fathom.
A Reason to Pray! When we knew Joe and Kim, I am sad to say that I didn't pray for their salvation. Too busy doing life to think of them and their need of the Savior. May the Lord help me to not repeat that same mistake. Yet, even now, I can pray for their families. No, I don't know their names, but I can come to the throne of grace, Hebrews 4:16 on their behalf. God knows each of their loved ones. Even after more than 40 years, Jesus knows where they are and who to bring into each of their lives. What a seeking Savior we celebrate at Christmas and indeed, all year long, Luke 19:10.
Can we turn a corner right here? Since the Lord gives us triggers for prayer, have you ever wondered what triggers He gives others so that prayer goes out for you? What every-day reminders does the Holy One use to send prayer out on our behalf just when we need it? Are there ornaments on their Christmas trees that remind them to run to Jesus with our names on their lips? What a joy it will be when we see how many times the Savior rescued us through prayer and how many times our prayers were the vehicle that God used to encourage one of His own children.
Lord, Help us to be alert to You when You use the every-day happenings to nudge us to pray. Thank You for Joe and Kim. Please soften the hearts of their loved ones who don't yet belong to You.