The language of prayer runs throughout 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Both letters emphasize giving thanks in prayer. Both consider the faith, hope, and love of the church as being at the top of the prayer list. Both have rich blessings that beg to be repeated.
But what has captured my imagination in my latest reading of these letters is one particular description of prayer. Perhaps it has captured my attention because I really needed to hear it. Check out the wording Paul uses.
- We always thank God… (1 Thessalonians 1:2).
- We continually remember… (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
- We also thank God continually… (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
- Night and day we pray…(1 Thessalonians 3:9).
- Pray continually…(1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- We ought always to thank God…(2 Thessalonians 1:3).
- We constantly pray…(2 Thessalonians 1:11).
- We ought always to thank God…(2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Reflecting on Paul’s prayer language in these letters has me thinking about my prayer life. These little words have me thinking about having a steady, consistent, faithful prayer life rather than being stop-and-start, hot-and-cold with prayer. These little words have me thinking about people who I earnestly prayed for over a period of weeks, maybe even months before letting them just fade away from my list long before their need for intercession was over. These little words have me thinking about people I once prayed for with thanksgiving but now take for granted. These little words have me thinking about sin I used to pray I would overcome but that I now just accept as part of my nature.
Night and day.
These little words can help us offer big prayers.