1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 8

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

We can't know for certain the exact number of churches Paul planted during his lifetime, but the apostle visited and brought the gospel to more than 50 cities during his missionary journeys.4

Paul's prayer shows us how to pray for fellow believers-not only for new believers, but for all believers.

Paul, however, was no ″touch and go″ evangelist. Having brought the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus, he assumed personal responsibility for nurturing their spiritual growth. He prayed constantly and ″most earnestly″ for their maturity, for this was his unwavering commitment (1 Thessalonians 3:10; see also 1:2-3). To the apostle, praying for his spiritual children was a delight, not a burden, because he treasured them as members of his own family. They were his hope, his glory, and his joy (3:9; see also 2:19-20).

In today's passage, we see Paul praying for three things.

First, he prays that he might get to visit the Thessalonian believers again, in order to nurture and equip them, and ″supply what is lacking in [their] faith″ (3:10). While Paul had previously told them how difficult it was to visit them (see 2:18), his desire may have been fulfilled some 5 years later during his third missionary journey, when he managed to visit Macedonia, the provincial capital of which was Thessalonica (see Acts 20:1-5).

Second, he prays for the Thessalonian believers' continued growth and maturity, and that their ″love for one another and for all people grow and overflow″ (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT). By this time, they were already ″known everywhere″ for their ″labour prompted by love″, but Paul hoped that this love would not only ″increase″ but also ″overflow″-not only for fellow Christians, but also for everyone else (1:3, 8; 3:12).

Third, he prays that the Thessalonian believers would remain steadfast and faithful, ″blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes″ (3:13; see also 2 Peter 3:11, 14). Paul reminded his hearers about the Lord's return, and how they ought to live holy lives until then. As Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe observes: ″Again, it is the return of Jesus Christ that motivates the believer to live a holy life. Our Lord's return is also a source of stability in the Christian life. Where there is stability, there can be sanctity, and where there is holiness, there is assurance. The two go together.″5

Paul's prayer shows us how to pray for fellow believers-not only for new believers, but for all believers. We can pray his prayer for ourselves too-that we would seek opportunities to minister to fellow believers, grow in our intimacy with God, and love people as Jesus does. Let us pray that our lives might be holy before God our Father and a watching world.

4 ″All cities visited by Apostle Paul map″. Bible Study. Accessed from https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/apostle-paul-all-cities-visited-map.html
5 Notes on 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Warren W. Wiersbe (ed.), The Wiersbe Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2019).

Think through:

Read Paul's prayer for the Thessalonian believers again (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13). What were his priorities for them?

How might Paul's prayer guide your own prayers for the people you love, or for those to whom you are ministering?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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