verse 16: [I] do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
God, I am so selfish in my prayers. How is it possible, Lord, that I can aspire to leadership when my prayers center so much on emotional whims? Paul was the epitome of a leader. In the middle of beatings, shipwrecks, bouts with snakes, imprisonment, and public scorn (my least favorite), just to name a few, he was praying for his spiritual children….thanking You for the fruit of his ministry.
This raises two questions– (1) who am I discipling? and (2) have I learned to express thanksgiving for what You’re doing in people’s lives, even when they don’t live up to “my” expectations?
Number two has been such a failing of mine, as You know so well. More often than not, when I’m in a situation where it feels like something’s unfair, I get vindictive of the people not stressed out like I am. If I had been Paul, I might have been more inclined to write holier-than-thou epistles that focused on my problems, and resented anyone and everyone not facing the hardships I was facing.
But then, I haven’t really learned the secret of being content in all things yet, have I? And You, in Your great kindness, haven’t chosen to send me into the boot camp of extreme trauma to learn that. I can’t change who I am, but You can. I open my heart to Your conviction…help me see when I’m missing an opportunity to pray for other people because I’m wrapped up in my own circumstances.
The great exchange–my selfishness for Your grace and Your compassion (love from the womb) for other people. Please Lord, let me learn this now while life is comparatively easy.