PERSISTENT PRAYING PAYS
Lord, thank You for our advancement in Your kingdom.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 3:6–13
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Samuel said to the people of Israel, ‘As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.’ (1 Sam 12:23)
Timothy’s glowing report says as much about him as it does about Thessalonica. He is a ‘glass half full’ man. That’s no surprise when you see how his mentor receives the news. Paul’s rejoicing focuses on the positives in these verses. This is much more than mere optimism. It’s a response to what God is doing, so it naturally leads to praise. Paul finds encouragement that sustains him during persecution by focusing on what God is doing rather than on the tactics of the enemy. He is not naïve about the opposition facing them, but his confidence in God is strengthened by hearing about the faith, love, and perseverance of the saints in Thessalonica.
Paul’s praise leads to prayer, occupying him night and day (10), as he asks God to give him an opportunity to revisit Thessalonica, and prays for the Thessalonians to grow in love and holiness (11–13). How committed are you to praying persistently until the answers come? Paul earlier describes himself as working night and day in both preaching and tent-making (1 Thess 2:9), so he must have also found a way to be constant in prayer throughout those activities. No surprises, then, when he later advises to ‘pray continually’ (1 Thess 5:17).
Paul’s prayer crowns our insight into his pastoral ministry. He longs to know how the Thessalonians are doing, and when Timothy returns with good news, he overflows in praise and prayer. His affectionate care and fervent praying, this sense of intimate solidarity with the believers, illustrate his parental love for those whom he serves in the gospel. Does it reflect your own ministry or approach to your work? These first three chapters show that Paul is a great preacher, an amazing pastor – and is also outstanding in prayer. (Jim Dick, Living in the Light of His Coming, Amazon Media, Kindle, 2018, p54). Little wonder he and the Thessalonian church become targets for satanic opposition too.
The disciples asked Jesus, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ (Luke 11:1). Make that your request to God now – and look for answers today.
Lord, teach us how to walk in the concern that Paul had for those under him. Teach us to be more kingdom-minded.