We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continually for you praying...
Praying... Paul and Timothy combine their thanksgiving with praying. We all know that prayer is central to Scripture and to our Christian life, but how often do we stop to think about the meaning of prayer? For most of us, probably not often at all.
The Greek word for “praying” here is proseuchomenoi, which is a present tense participle that modifies the subject “we,” indicating Paul and Timothy are the ones praying. The participle comes from the verb proseuchomai, which contains two parts: pros meaning towards or exchange and euchomai meaning wish or pray.
Based on this definition, praying involves two movements, wishing/praying towards and exchanging wishes/prayers. The first of these is fairly obvious. When we pray, we direct our wishes toward God. We tell Him about our needs and desires (and about everything else, too, for God wants us to talk to Him in this intimate way), and this is very good when we behave like trusting children, placing ourselves and our lives in God's hands.
But there's also a second element. When we pray, we exchange wishes with God, and this is perhaps even more important than merely asking God for something. When we pray in this “exchanging wishes” sort of way, we learn to let go of our own views, our own desires, our own needs and accept God's will instead. We realize that God sometimes says “no” to our prayers and that He does it for our own good because He sees infinitely further than we do and knows what is truly in our best interests. We begin to discover that prayer is more about relationship than anything else, that it's more about getting Someone than something. In prayer, we open our hearts to God that we may know Him better and love Him more.
Prayer, then, should change us. As we encounter God more and more deeply, our ideas, our attitudes, our desires, and our actions should all change. We should become more and more like God the more we pray, the more we exchange wishes with Him, the more we learn that prayer is not so much about what we want as about what our loving Father wants for us.