Summary: Our text tells us how the Lord blesses us and others. 1- May the Lord clear your way 2- May the Lord increase your love 3- May the Lord strengthen your heart

INTRO.- ILL.- A 4-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one.

Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles.

Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip.

Then he paused, and everyone waited--and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won’t he know that I’m lying?"

Yes, I guess He would but I still think it would be a good idea to thank Him for everything and ask His blessing on it.

Does it do any good to ask God to bless our food? Does it taste any better? Nourish us any better? Well, it might and we’ve been told to be thankful for everything.

I Timothy 4:3-5 "They (false teachers) forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."

ILL.- A little boy was kneeling beside his bed with his mother and grandmother and softly saying his prayers, "Dear God, please bless Mummy and Daddy and all the family and please give me a good night’s sleep." Suddenly he looked up and shouted, "And don’t forget to give me a bicycle for my birthday!!"

"There is no need to shout like that," said his mother. "God isn’t deaf." "No," said the little boy, "but Grandma is."

Is God deaf when it comes to our prayers? No, I don’t think so although some people might say this.

Here are some great scriptures about prayer, which we need to read and believe.

Matthew 7:11 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Luke 11:5-10 "5Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ’Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7"Then the one inside answers, ’Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

The old KJV uses the word "importunity," meaning persistence or insistence. Apparently, God doesn’t get tired of us asking.

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Isn’t this a beautiful scripture with a great promise? God gives to us generously and doesn’t find fault with us or reprimand us for asking. Wow! He wants us to ask and ask. Of course, we must ask reverently, humbly and submissively! We can’t ask like we are telling a waiter what we want and want right now!

Prayer is one of the great and perhaps the greatest blessings that we have in Christ! We have a God who sees all our faults, yet loves us unconditionally and we can talk to Him all we want and ask whatever we think is important!

And one of the lovely things about talking to God is that we can ask on behalf of others!

Ephesians 6:18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Our greatest prayers are for others! When we ask for others! When we ask God’s blessing on others! And have you blessed anyone lately with your prayers? Or have you pronounced a blessing on someone through prayer?

This text is about pronouncing a blessing on others, as in "May the Lord bless you." And He will and especially, when we are thinking of others. Paul says three times "May the Lord bless you" in certain ways. May the Lord do this or that. This is sort of a benedictory type prayer, a concluding prayer or blessing on the brothers and sisters of Thessalonica.

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