2 Thessalonians 3:1-3
One of the most memorable moments from my Emmaus Walk experience was when the leaders presented a list of names of people who were praying for all of us involved in the weekend. Prayers were being offered 24 hours a day from all sorts of people, most of whom we did not know. Seeing so many names and realizing that other people were lifting me in prayer had an impact.
There have been other times when a prayer offered on my behalf has meant so very much. To know that others are willing to take a moment of effort to address God for my benefit is truly moving.
In this second letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul is asking for prayer. Why does he want prayer? What encouragement is offered in verse 3?
Paul’s request may at first seem selfish. He wants prayer for himself and his ministry team – Silas and Timothy. But what at first may seem selfish is actually very sound.
Paul realizes that he needs the prayers of others so that ministry might move forward. And he is not being selfish, he is being bold in his requests.
I think this brief passage addresses two key issues that we so often overlook. The first is the fact that we need to keep ministry and the faith of ourselves and others as part of our regular prayer life. So often prayer becomes a laundry list of desires and needs, a “wish list” for the believers. We go to God and ask for healing or better jobs or peace of mind.
While there is nothing wrong with presenting your needs to God, we also need to go to God and ask for stronger faith. We need to go to God and ask for others we know to be given faith. We need to go to God and ask for success in ministries – our own and the ministries of our church or other individuals we know. Our prayer requests need to expand beyond ourselves and encompass the work and the faith of others.
The second key issue often neglected is the fact that the Lord is faithful. We can come to God in desperation. We can cry out to God, and so often we wonder if He hears what we are asking for. Yes, God hears us. God is faithful. God wants to respond to our prayers.
What we must trust in is that God is faithful AND God knows better than we do what we need. God’s response to our prayers is the perfect answer. It may be different than what we seek, but we must trust that it better than what we hoped for.
DAILY CHALLENGE: What ministry needs your prayer?