July 7: Praying for God's People (1 Thess 3:9-13)
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13Â For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?Â Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (ESV)
[New sermon series: Practicing the Prayers of Paul]Â
Prayer is the recognized language of the Christian, and yet most Christians find prayer to be a struggle. There are many reasons for this: failure to understand the kindness of God, uncertainty of what to pray for, fatigue with delayed answers and lack of patience in developing a habit of prayer. Over the next five weeks we will be studying Paulâ€™s prayers, seeking to develop a better appreciation and practice of effective prayer. In our passage today, Paul prays on behalf of a church struggling against persecution and opposition. In this prayer we see both his heart for prayer and what he requests of God on behalf of these people. Scripture says that out of the. Paulâ€™s example teaches us that having a sincere concern for Godâ€™s children precedes and fuels effective prayer. From this concern will flow petitions in which we ask God for greater grace in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Consider your current practice of prayer; at what point do you struggle? Where do you perceive help is most needed?
Review and Apply
- Do you regularly give thanks to God on behalf of Godâ€™s people? What was the content of your thanksgiving the last time you gave thanks?
- In what ways does Paulâ€™s prayer show his passion for people?
- What was Paulâ€™s source of joy in this prayer? Is it consistent with your joy in prayer? If not, why not? How are your prayers different from Paul's?
- Whose faith and Christian life is encouraging you and would cause you to abound in thanksgiving?
- Describe genuine biblical fellowship. Give an example of your experience of this.
- Why does Paul pray for abounding love for these saints?
- How does increasing love result in increasing holiness in the life of the church?
- How does the return of Jesus with the saints encourage greater prayer?