Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Learning to Pray Big

In 2 Thessalonians 3.1-3 we have a request from Paul for the church to pray for him.

Finally brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. (1) Paul's first request: may God be glorified. Pray that the grace you have experienced may be experienced by others as the Lord's message spreads. Paul did not pray for safety or a good time - he prayed for God's glory to shine in darkness.

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. (2) The reason for his prayer is the rebellion against God - there are wicked and evil men without faith. Pray that they may be delivered - kept safe to proclaim the Lord's message.

(This is great!) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (3) The problem with prayer today (and even my prayers) is that we focus so much time on the problem and forget the promise. Paul makes one statement: pray for us because ... and then - But - this is who God is (faithful) and this is what he will do (strengthen and protect you). Prayer is incomplete if all we do is ask - we must see who God is as well.

We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance (4-5) Amazing how quickly Paul says - pray for me - and then his prayer ends by praying for others. That is the way prayer works - the more we see God and the greater and more amazing and powerful he is - the bigger our prayers will be. It is like Paul saying - You pray for me and here is God and if this is God he will not only take care of me but he will take care of you.

Do you find it difficult to pray for others? Are your prayers always about your needs and your ministry? It is because your God is too small and you are not looking to His promises. When God is BIG and we are praying for His glory to explode, our prayers will turn outward and filled with confidence.

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