Thank God for People
by Jacob Hudgins
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”(1 Tim 2:1).
Paul wants us to pray for “all people”—and one of the types of prayers is “thanksgivings.” We should thank God for people. Isn’t it a strange idea that we would thank God for people? We can understand thanking people for something they do for us, but why would we thank God for people?
God allows people to come into our lives and impact us. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now”(Phil 1:3-5). Paul thanks God that the Philippians have shared and blessed him. He sees that God is ultimately responsible because God brought them together, used Paul to teach them, blessed them with the ability, called them to help, and cemented their relationship with this gift. Paul rejoices and thanks God for people who he brought into his life.
God produces fruit in others. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge”(1 Cor 1:4-5). Paul is thankful because God has been at work. He has given grace to others. He has empowered them and equipped them and used them. Paul admires the Corinthians, but he knows that it is God who has done the work.
God uses others to help us—and to promote his gospel. This is the reason why Christians should pray for leaders. They enable us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life” and promote a climate in which God’s desire to save all people can be more readily achieved (1 Tim 2:2, 4). God uses leaders to bless his people and spread his word—so we thank God for them.
We can struggle with seeing the best in people. Thanking God for them transforms our perspective. What is God doing? How is God working in them? How is this person a blessing? How is God’s name glorified here?
Thanking God for people helps appreciate God and people.