Pray for Us
1Finally, our friends, please pray for us. This will help the message about the Lord to spread quickly, and others will respect it, just as you do. 2Pray that we may be kept safe from worthless and evil people. After all, not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm. 4He has made us sure that you are obeying what we taught you and that you will keep on obeying. 5I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.
Does it come as a surprise that the great apostle Paul should ask the believers in Thessalonica to pray for him? I think we sometimes forget how down-to-earth Paul was in his friendships and everyday life, and how he modelled the kind of inter-dependence that there should be among all Christians everywhere. We have advantages that he could never have dreamed of, with social media and email to be in touch with Christians anywhere in the world. I wonder how he would have made use of all this for the gospel.
It comes naturally to us to pray for people’s safety, as Paul asks for here. Perhaps we forget also to pray for people’s witness – not only for missionaries, but for Christians in our own church and city as well. Let’s pray too for the people who work with IT that they might find more and more creative ways to put all this technology to work in spreading the gospel.
After the concern he expressed for them in yesterday’s reading, it is good here to read of his confidence in God’s faithfulness. Finally he prays that Jesus will enable them to be as loving as God (think about that for a moment!) and to have the patience of Christ. What do you think of when you hear the word “patience?” Having a three year old help you in the kitchen? Waiting for an injury to heal? That’s “makrothumia,” listed in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The Greek word Paul uses here is different, and means endurance, hanging in there in spite of all opposition, not giving up. May we all have the endurance of Christ (see Hebrews 12:1-2).
Father God, thank you for this encouraging reading. Thank you that you can be trusted to make us strong and to protect us from harm. Bind us close to other Christians everywhere as we pray for them, and give us the strength to persevere when life is hard. Amen.