2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
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.
Our Verse of the Day encourages us to be thankful for our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus. 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; their perseverance; their ever-increasing growth and maturity; and their abounding love for others. Paul said he boasted to other bodies of believers about their perseverance and faith because of all the persecutions and trials they had endured. What kind of testimony do you think Paul would give to Second Chance Church? Other churches in our community? What kind of prayer would Paul offer for the whole 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)
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. 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:
- With this in mind ….
What is Paul referring to with this phrase? In 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, Paul discusses the challenges and sufferings 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 he explains how that will occur. Perhaps, we should take note….
- 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….
- 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 the call of God 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.
- 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 to our desires for goodness; to our desires 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 effective and productive … living lives worthy of our calling (Cf. 2 Peter 1:5-8)
- 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.
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! Yes, and all this is according to the grace of our God.
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. I have provided some links to some additional prayers of Paul for other churches. Note the similarities and content of his prayers. I hope these examples will inspire you and me to pray more intentionally and powerfully.
A Final Thought:
I noticed, in our Verse of the Day, a connection between a faith that is growing with a love that is increasing. As we learn to abound in sincere love for one another, our faith matures along with it. Indeed, I believe that an ever-increasing faith is produced by an ever-increasing love for God and love for people. Jesus taught: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Cf. John 13:34-35) And John affirmed, “He (Jesus) has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
So, in love, let us prayer for one another. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters according to the patterns that Paul has taught us. We know these prayers will be answered because the Lord Jesus will be glorified through them. This is part of the fruit of righteousness we bear in the Spirit as we live worthy of the callings we have received.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~ Ephesians 4:1-6