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First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 1 Timothy 2:1 (CEV)

It’s easy to be thankful for people who are like you. But what about people who are different than you? What about people who don’t hold to the same political opinions that you hold to? Or the ones who go to a different denomination?

The Apostle Paul doesn’t make any differentiation on any of those surface issues. His admonition to Timothy, and us, is the same. ‘First of all,’ or as some versions of the Bible say, ‘Of utmost importance…’ This is no flippant remark by the Apostle. No off-the-cuff, when you get around to it sort of thing. It’s priority. It’s number one. It’s put your best effort here.

Pray for everyone. Seek God’s blessing for them. Tell God how thankful you are for them. That’s it. That’s x-treme thankfulness.

You may say something like, “But you don’t know what they did to me” or “You don’t know the horrible things they’ve done!” And, you’d be right. But God knows. God knows they are heartless. God knows they are greedy. God knows they are irresponsible, reprehensible and egotistical. He knows they cut you off on the interstate, give you lousy service at the coffee shop and talk behind your back.

God knows people are hard to love and be thankful for. He died for every one of them. He died for you. That’s grace. Godly grace says that I may not be thankful for how you act or how you treat others. I am thankful that God loves you and I will pray for His blessing on you.

You may be thinking, “Boy, this guy’s really lost it now. How can anyone pray for the jerks of this world?” The answer is simple. We can’t. We can’t do it on our own. We need divine help from the one who loves us when we are jerks.

How would your world change if everyone who you came in contact with could sense you were thankful for them? How would they react if you were to show them Christ’s love even when they are unlikeable? That’s when Jesus came for us. When we were at our worst, he gave us his best.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that I don’t like this verse! There are so many people who irritate me for various reasons. Some of them are brothers and sisters in Christ! Forgive me for my inability to pray for them. Empower me by your Spirit to love them and pray for them because of your love for them and not based on their actions. In Jesus name, Amen.

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