PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER
Lord, point our hearts in the right direction.
Read 2 THESSALONIANS 3:1–5
Request for Prayer
3 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
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‘The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable.’ (Coleridge, quoted by EM Bounds, Power Through Prayer, Marshall, p52) Prepare your heart by asking what priority prayer has in your life now.
‘Brothers and sisters, pray for us’ is Paul’s request at the end of his previous letter. Now he gets specific. It’s good to be clear with those whom we love and trust about what our prayer needs are. Paul is wise enough to recognize his need of prayer from those whom he has led to Christ. There is a fellowship in prayer that involves us all and none of us is above needing to be supported in this way. When my family and I lived as front-line missionaries far from home, we felt well supported in prayer by our sending church and a list of praying friends. Once we returned to pastoral ministry in the UK, I suspect that sense of urgency in prayer evaporated. Yet, all who serve in whatever circumstances need the help of prayer.
Paul asks for prayer that the gospel might spread rapidly and that he and his team might be delivered from the attacks of their opponents, of whom there are many. If Paul is writing from Corinth, he is dragged into court there and, although the case gets dismissed, his associate is badly beaten (Acts 18:12–17). Yet he maintains a confidence in the faithfulness of God, for himself and the Thessalonians too. ‘The Lord is faithful’ (see 3) is a wonderful encouragement and carriesPaul through many battles with enemies of all kinds.
The Lord’s faithfulness occurs again in verse 5, just before the warnings that follow. Christ’s perseverance through suffering and His faithfulness in doing his Father’s will are supreme examples to us all. After all, things may be tough, but we have probably not yet resisted evil to the point of shedding our blood as Christ did (Heb 12:3,4). Pray that your heart may also be directed into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance on your behalf.
Memorize the words of verse 3 and/or write them on a card to keep with you today as a promise from God to encourage you to persevere.
Lord, impress upon us the need to pray for others, especially for those in ministry or on the mission field.
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