Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Praying With Paul"
1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 | Praying With Paul
These written prayers, are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
The Thessalonian church is...standing firm in reliance upon God in the face of opposition and they remembered Paul kindly and longed to see him. The tempter has not triumphed in midst of the affliction they are suffering.
PRAYER: Father, please grant me grace to stand firm in humble trust and faithful obedience, whether facing opposition or distress or suffering. May your victory empower my triumph over sin and doubt.
v.9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God.
This is how Paul rolls in caring for people and communicating his affection to them-He thanks God for the evidences of grace he observes in their lives.
PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to the innumerable evidences and demonstrations of grace in the lives of those around me – those that have inspired me, served me, cared for me, encouraged me...those that have instructed, adjusted, and been there for me. May my prayers and my conversations overflow with thanksgiving to you, and to those through whom your grace has flowed into my life!
v.12 may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for another in love for one and for all, as we do for you…
And the object of this love is also “and for all.” So this love must reach beyond the confines of the church to the non-Christian community. Only a church that loves well reflects well on the gospel.
PRAYER: Lord, may we begin each day praying, “what does love look like today?” Prompt us to pray, to serve, and to care, and to lovingly pursue those within, and those outside, of Sovereign Grace Church.
Paul prays that God will strengthen their hearts so they will be blameless “in holiness.”
Those who have been separated by God from sin through the gospel are meant to display the distinctive of holiness for the glory of God.
PRAYER: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24). As I devote myself to your Word, may I not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of my mind.
God is called our Father
The Lord Jesus Christ who revealed God the Father, reconciled us to God so that we might know and call Him Father through his atoning work on the cross for our sins.
PRAYER: Father as we treasure the gift of calling you Father, please help us to faithfully:
Make Paul’s Prayer our Prayer.
Improve in Prayer as We Grow in Love
Pray with Thankfulness for Our Church
Pray with the Last Day in View
v.13 …so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Paul is constantly drawing their attention to this day and destination, which is not so much a place but a person, and the joy that awaits when we see Him face to face so that our hearts might be strengthened today and readied for that day.
PRAYER: Lord, may the anticipation of seeing you on that day, free us from anything else we cling to for hope, for comfort, or for security. Strengthen us with the reminder that this is not our home!
OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
Paul overflows with gratefulness in this passage because of the good report Timothy brought him about the Thessalonians’ faith. Paul continues by modeling theological brevity as he passionately prays for their future. In this prayer, Paul petitions God for the Thessalonians, that he (Paul) would get to visit them soon, that they would increase in love for one another, and that they would be blameless in anticipation for the day of Christ. In light of Paul’s model of prayer, we should delight to call God Father, grow in love for each other, pray with thankfulness for our church, and live with the last day in view.
- In this passage, Paul models “short, frequent, and fervent” prayer (John Newton). How does this model of prayer change or challenge your idea of what prayer should be?
- Paul models how to thank God for his grace in others’ lives—thank God, then tell others you thank God for them. How does Paul’s focus on “evidences of grace” change the way you pray for and talk with other believers?
- C.J. pointed out what a privilege it is to call God your Father (verse 11). How does the role of God and Father, rather than God and Accuser, renew your gratefulness for the gospel?
- Loving our brothers and sisters more deeply helps us pray for them more fervently. How can you practically look for ways to serve other believers around you and increase your love for them this week (community group, family, friends, etc.)?
- Paul prays for the Thessalonians to be blameless (not sinless) at Christ’s return. How did this sermon encourage you to pursue holiness in light of Christ’s return? How should the last day impact the way we prioritize our schedules, finances, relationships, and evangelism?
The summary and questions were written by Emily Donovan.
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