Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So then, let us pray

Today we come to the last chapter of the books that Paul wrote to the Thessalonican church. In 2 Thessalonians 3 we read these opening words:
1Finally, brothers pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Paul has prayed for this church. In turn, he asks that they pray for him. He, Silas and Timothy were working at spreading God's word and Paul desires their prayers. He wants them to pray that the word of The Lord will go ahead of them, that the Word of The Lord might be honoured, just like it happened among the Thessalonican people.

I like how Barnes put it in E-sword
The idea is, that it might meet with no obstruction, but that it might be carried abroad with the rapidity of a racer out of whose way every hindrance was removed. The gospel would spread rapidly in the earth if all the obstructions which men have put in its way were removed; and that they may be removed should be one of the constant subjects of prayer.
and then Henry as well
This was the great thing that Paul was most solicitous about. He was more solicitous that God's name might be sanctified, his kingdom advanced, and his will done, than he was about his own daily bread. He desired that the word of the Lord might run (so it is in the original), that it might get ground, that the interest of religion in the world might go forward and not backward, and not only go forward, but go apace. All the forces of hell were then, and still are, more or less, raised and mustered to oppose the word of the Lord, to hinder its publication and success. We should pray, therefore, that oppositions may be removed, that so the gospel, may have free course to the ears, the hearts, and the consciences of men, that it may be glorified in the conviction and conversion of sinners, the confutation, of gainsayers, and the holy conversation of the saints. God, who magnified the law, and made it honourable, will glorify the gospel, and make that honourable, and so will glorify his own name; and good ministers and good Christians may very well be contented to be little, to be any thing, to be nothing, if Christ be magnified and his gospel be glorified. Paul was now at Athens, or, as some think, at Corinth, and would have the Thessalonians pray that he might have as good success there as he had at Thessalonica, that it might be as well with others even as it was with them.
We need to pray for those who labour among us, but not only here in our churches, but for those who labour elsewhere. I have friends on the mission fields out in Africa and England, it is so important to pray for what they are doing. E-letters remind me frequently of the work they are doing and how important prayer is.

Paul continues by asking for prayer that they be delivered from the wicked and evil men around them. Not all people are people of faith. But God on the other hand...he is faithful. He will establish us and guard us against the evil one.

Paul expresses his confidence in the Thessalonican people and the work that God is doing among them. That they are doing and will continue to do all they command as men of God. he prays that God will continue to direct their hearts to God's love and the steadfastness of Christ.

It all comes down to prayer doesn't it?
How we must pray for each other. For God's word to be spread, for evil to opposed, for his church to be established, and for God to do his work in the hearts of his people. So then... let us pray.

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