2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
This verse is a nice reminder to be thankful for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul indicated to the Thessalonian Church that his offering of gratitude to God for fellow believers was the right thing to do in light of their faith; its perseverance; its ever-increasing growth and maturity; and its abounding love for others. Paul said he boasted to other bodies of believers about their perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials they were enduring. Wow! What kind of testimony do you think Paul would give to Second Chance Church? Other churches in our community? What kind of prayer would he offer for the Church today? Well, I’m glad you asked because I think Paul would offer the same prayer for us that he did for the Thessalonians:
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NIV)
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s examine his prayer a little more:
1. With this in mind ….
What is Paul referring to with this phrase? In Verses 5-10, Paul discusses the challenges and suffering the Thessalonian church was experiencing from non-believers and the culture around them. Sound familiar? Yet, he offered them hope that justice would be accomplished when Jesus returns and explains how that will occur. Perhaps, we should take note….
2. We constantly pray for you….
What a great comfort to know that another person is praying for you. Even better, like Paul, tell other people you are praying for them … and often. And let them know what you are praying for them … and asking God to do in them and for them….
3. That our God may make you worthy of His calling…
This is an interesting petition. Notice the implication of what Paul is saying here. You and I do not make ourselves worthy of the call God places upon us; rather HE makes us worthy. The questions here become: “How does God make us worthy of His calling?” and “Why is it important for us to pray for worthiness?” My thoughts are that worthiness is something we cannot accomplish within ourselves; however, we can respond to His call upon our lives by living a life worthy of the calling we have received. You see this phrase and similar petitions in other epistles of Paul.
4. That by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
Again, note that it is the power of God that brings fruition our desire for goodness; to our desire for holiness; to our service and ministry for others prompted by our faith. So this verse corroborates that our salvation is by grace through faith … and not of works. Our desire for goodness and serving others is fulfilled by the power of God working in us. His Spirit will equip us for being effetive and productive … living lives worthy of our calling (Cf. 2 Peter 1:8)
5. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him,
Notice that the purpose of his prayer is for the name of the Lord Jesus to be glorified in His disciples and followers … AND each of us to be glorified in Him!
I thought this opportunity to examine a powerful prayer was too important for us to miss. And I hope that you will consider how your prayers for fellow believers will not only encourage them – but will strengthen your own faith as you petition the Lord and observe His grace and power unfold in the lives of His people according to your prayers. So I have reprinted some additional prayers of Paul for other churches below. Note the similarities and content of his prayers. I hope these examples will “reset your mindset” regarding prayer and inspire you and I to pray more intentionally and powerfully. For you know these prayers will be answered because the Lord Jesus will be glorified through the fruit we bear as we live lives worthy of the calling we have received. Amen!.
Ephesians 1:15-19 (NIV)
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Colossians 1:3-12 (NIV)
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 (NIV)
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you,5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (NIV)
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory. 13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
Philippians 1:3-11 (NIV)
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.