“Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:10-13).
One day the disciples saw Jesus praying in “a certain place” (a designated place of prayer?) and asked him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1 ff). Similarly, when I see someone who is “devoted” to prayer or who “wrestles” in prayer I want to learn from them (Colossians 4:2, 12). So when I read this text I want to cry out, “teach me to pray!” God does just that through the prayers of Paul for the Thessalonians.
Paul prays the faith of the Thessalonians will be made complete. He even prays God will use him to supply what is missing in their faith. Can you imagine the impact such prayer could have on a church today? Imagine elders praying for the faith of the members to be mature. Imagine ministers asking God to use them to help supply what is missing in the faith of specific individuals or families. Too often our prayers are confined to the physical needs of members. God teaches us to pray for the spiritual formation of the church.
Paul prays the love of the Thessalonians will increase and overflow. He even prays God will pour out that love beyond the walls of the church to “everyone else.” Can you imagine the impact such prayer could have on a church today? Imagine elders praying for the love of the members to increase. Imagine ministers asking God to create such love in the hearts of the church members that it floods the community. God teaches us to pray for the expansion of love.
Paul prays the hearts of the Thessalonians will be strengthened so they will be living holy lives when Jesus returns. Can you imagine the impact such prayer could have on a church today? Imagine elders praying for the hearts of members to get passionate about living for God. Imagine ministers asking God to create such holiness in the lives of church members that they are primed for Jesus’ coming. God teaches us to pray for the living of holy lives.
Some wonder aloud, “How could you possibly pray night and day?” Start by letting God teach you to pray. Begin to intercede for people as Paul did for the Thessalonians. Pray for the same things Paul prayed for — faith, love, and holiness. That is some powerful intercession.
Thank you, God, for teaching us to pray.