1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13 (AD 50-51)
Look again at the closing three verses of our passage – Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians:
“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.
This isn’t the model prayer, how all our prayers should look, or an instruction page. But it is an example of what a very godly person who loves their fellow-Christians, says to God. This is what Paul asked God for, on behalf of the Thessalonians:
- To love their fellow church members more and enormously
- To love everyone more and enormously
- (Affirmation: Paul and his colleagues love them enormously)
- For stronger mind and understanding, leading to…
- …blamelessness and holiness of life when they meet God
- And that Paul would have an opportunity to see the Thessalonians
First, ask yourself this: do you want any of those things? Do you want God to grow your love for your fellow-church members, to whom you owe a specific debt of care? Do you want God to grow your love for everyone else, too? Do you want to be more faithful and knowledgeable? Do you want to be more holy?
It’s all very well suggesting that we should copy Paul’s prayer for other people, but realistically we’re only going to ask God to give other people, what we want for ourselves. Nobody without a desire to be holy asked God to help others be holy. Nobody without an earnest desire to live a blameless life of love, ever asked for that blessing for another person.
Perhaps we should start by asking God to forgive us for how little some of these things mean to ourselves.
Then ask for them.
And then start asking God to bless other people in the same way.
Or, to put it another way,
“Should the aircraft cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”