Summary: Instead of praying that God would just wrap us all up in bubble wrap so we never feel any pain or have any problems, it might help us to look at the prayers that are prayed in the Bible. In Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonian Christians, we can learn a lot
A Prayer Over You
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Intro: When is the last time someone prayed a prayer over you? What kinds of things do you like to hear being prayed for you? Blessing? Prosperity? Good health? Sometimes I find myself praying prayers for my kids and family members that ask God to keep all the unpleasant and difficult things away from them. Lord, please keep them safe and healthy and happy. I do want those things for them, but they are not the greatest needs in their lives. Some needs can only be met by going through hard times. It is through the struggle that we learn to trust God and develop unshakable faith.
-So, instead of praying that God would just wrap us all up in bubble wrap so we never feel any pain or have any problems, it might help us to look at the prayers that are prayed in the Bible. As we look at Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonian Christians, we can learn a lot about God, His will for our lives, and about salvation- present tense and futuristic.
-So as we look at these 2 verses, 11-12, Paul writes, “With this in mind.” What is in mind? Vv. 1-10: The fact that your faith is growing, your love is increasing, you are hanging in there during the hard times, justice and judgment is coming to those who reject God and abuse and mistreat you, and final and ultimate salvation is coming for those of you who trust in Jesus! With this in mind, Paul says, we are constantly praying for you. What does he pray, and what can we learn from it?
1. That God would consider you worthy of His calling
-What does this mean? How can we be counted worthy of God’s calling? Is this like being a paying customer, not just taking up space and using up oxygen? Does it mean to make yourself useful?
-God’s calling here is likely a reference to the ultimate and final salvation of God’s people. In another letter (Philippians), Paul talks about the upward call of God. To be considered worthy of His call to be with Him forever means that they will keep trusting God to the very end. His calling is not to judgment but to life and joy with Him forever!
-In the context of both letters and this chapter, endurance and keeping the faith are the requirements for one to be considered worthy of God’s calling into His awesome presence – esp. in the face of persecution.
-Worthy does not mean that we can earn our way into heaven. Eternal life with God is the free gift of God. We cannot earn it or deserve it. However, it is possible to disqualify ourselves from it by giving up and taking the easy way out.
2. That God would fulfill every good purpose of yours (by His power)
-Maybe you’ve heard that God has a purpose for your life. There may be a number of purposes for your life: God’s, Satan’s, yours, and other people’s. This is all about bring your purposes or intentions into alignment with God’s! It has to do with moral conduct. Now, good moral conduct cannot save us or make us right with God, but it is part of God’s purpose for us! 1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification. So, the Thessalonian believers had demonstrated perseverance (a never give up mentality) in the face of persecution for their faith and they had demonstrated faith, love and Godly living! What Paul seems to be praying here is that God would help them follow through with these things and be faithful to Him to the very end!
3. That God would fulfill every faith-prompted act (by His power)
-I really like this phrase. You may have heard of random acts of kindness? Well, these Christians had begun doing continual acts of faith! Faith-prompted actions are the things we do because of our trust in God. We learn to be generous with those in need because God is like that, and we want to be like Him! Acts of obedience would be considered faith-prompted acts. We obey God because we love, honor, and trust Him!
-But it wasn’t enough for these Christ followers to simply begin these faith acts and then let them taper off. No. Paul knew they would need God’s help to keep them obeying Him, loving others, being generous, and serving those around them.