Paul told the church in Thessalonica that he prayed for them night and day. He followed that statement with a summary of what he asked God to do for them.
1 Thessalonians 3.11-13 – Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.
And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Paul prayed about what he wanted the church to know and do.
(1) His prayer addressed “the Father” and the “Lord Jesus.”
I am often asked if it is OK to pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. My answer is “yes,” and passages like this give credence to my opinion.
The Trinity is composed of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul’s letters often identify the persons of the Trinity, even though the word is not used.
When you pray to one of the Persons of the Trinity, you are praying to God.
(2) Christian love extends to our loved ones and friends, but it also includes “all.” When we pray for love to increase and abound to all persons, we are praying within the revealed will of God.
“For God so loved the world” (John 3.16) is God’s standard.
Love is not only commanded by Jesus, but it is the way that everyone will know that we are one of his followers.
— John 13.34-35 – I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(3) The heart is the center of the whole life of a person. It needs to be strengthened to enable humans to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Instead of trying to compose a definition of “holiness,” we do well to observe Jesus. If we imitate his actions, attitudes, and teaching, then we will live holy lives.
No wonder Paul prayed this for the church. We should do the same.
(4) The new believers in Thessalonica were concerned about the coming of the Lord.
The best way to be prepared for the coming of the Lord is to have our hearts strengthened so we will live in holiness.
Once again, holiness is best defined as living a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Power in Prayer
One emphasis of this letter is the notion of God’s power. The Holy Spirit is the transformational power in God’s activity among people.
Below are two examples of how the Spirit worked in the church.
1 Thessalonians 1.5 – Our message of the gospel came to you not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
1 Thessalonians 2.13 – When you received the word of God that you heard from us you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.
When we pray according to God’s will, we can be certain of the Spirit’s power.
Jesus’ prayer promise is true today as it has been since the first time he stated it.
— John 15.7 – If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
These truths should encourage us to pray for those whom we love and as Paul prayed “for all.”
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. You can see it on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.