Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1.3
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
Reflection: Persistence in Prayer
by Jon Polk
“I’ll pray for you.”
We’ve all done it. With complete sincerity, we’ve told a friend that we’d remember them in prayer, only to have the prayer request slip out of our memory not long after we’ve left their company.
We meant what we said; we intended to pray, but the request was forgotten once we got back to the office, or got home from our Bible study, or arrived at the restaurant for lunch after Sunday worship. There is a danger when we don’t follow through with our honest intentions to pray; eventually those words “I’ll pray for you” become a hollow and empty promise.
In the opening passage of 2 Thessalonians, we find Paul’s usual greetings and salutations. We may be tempted to rush past these opening verses in Paul’s epistles, thinking they are nothing more than, “Hi, how you doin’?”
However, in these opening remarks, Paul mentions two specific characteristics of the believers in Thessalonica that cause him to give thanks to God: their faith and love. He commends them for growth and maturation of both.
In Paul’s first correspondence with the Thessalonians, he tells them that “night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.” (1 Thess. 3:10) He also prays for them, asking that “the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” (1 Thess. 3:12)
Paul had announced his intention to pray for their faith, in areas where it was lacking, and for an increase in their love towards one another.
Presumably, a significant amount of time passed between Paul’s first and second letters to the Thessalonian believers, but nonetheless, as he pens the opening lines of his second letter, he thanks God for their growth in both faith and in love, the same issues upon which he had focused his prayers for them.
Later in this opening chapter of 2 Thessalonians, he reminds them, “we constantly pray for you.” Apparently when Paul says, “I’ll pray for you,” he actually follows through.
May we share that same sense of commitment the next time we utter those simple words, “I’ll pray for you.”
O Lord, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you. — Psalm 88:14
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.