I have had the privilege of praying with several powerful people of prayer.
When I prayed with Cliff Barrows, the long-time choir leader for Billy Graham, I sensed the power of the Holy Spirit in his person and prayer.
In 1995, I prayed with Julio Ruibal a dynamic prayer leader from Cali Columbia. God used him to fill a huge stadium for a citywide transforming prayer meeting.
I have also prayed with lesser-known people, who inspired my prayer life.
I remembered these prayer experiences, when I read Paul’s prayer that ended his letter to the Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 5.23-24 – May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely, and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
What can we learn, as we attend Paul’s school of prayer?
(1) Paul prayed “night and day” (1 Thessalonians 3.10) and taught the church to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17).
Long public prayers were not part of his prayer ministry. He stated his point in a few pointed statements.
(2) Paul prayed for God’s agenda to be accomplished.
God wants people to be like Jesus. That is the best understanding of sanctification.
Why does God want us to be sanctified or like Jesus? He wants to be able to love us like he loves his Beloved Son.
In turn, God wants us to love him with a love like Jesus.
He wants every aspect of our being – spirit, soul, and body – to fulfill the design he has for us.
As our Creator, God knows the very best way for every aspect of our being to function. Paul’s prayer is that we will conform to God’s plan for our lives.
This is a perfect picture of how to pray for family members, church members, and governmental leaders.
(3) When Jesus returns, he deserves to have blameless people greet him.
Given Jesus’ sacrifice, shouldn’t he find a welcoming party filled with blameless people?
Let’s imitate Paul and make this our prayer.
Paul did not limit his prayer to a concluding blessing. Earlier in the letter, he wrote about his prayer for the church.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – 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 added more requests to ask of God. We can pray these verses in confidence, knowing that they are God’s will.
(1) Pray for love to increase and abound.
A song from my teen years said, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” If it was true 50 years ago, it is increasingly so today.
(2) Paul found holy and blameless living to be so essential that he mentioned it two times.
My wife and I just finished watching the nightly news before finishing this article. Other than a natural disaster, all other tragedies were human-made disasters.
Think of how the world would be different if holiness and blameless living were the norm.
Let’s pray for this to take place and use all of Paul’s other prayers to ask God for the good of humans and his glory.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this powerful passage on today’s YouTube broadcast. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.