A Prayer of Thanksgiving
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5
Paul founded the church in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey. However, he was only there a very short time before being run out of town by his enemies. But the Thessalonian Christians believed and therefore the church was alive and active. This is one of Paul’s first letters to one of his churches. Paul typically did not travel alone on his missionary journeys but when he worked he usually had a team.
When Paul prays this prayer for the Thessalonians he was also not alone. He says “We give thanks” and it is also good to note that he says, “constantly mentioning”. In the past, before I started studying the prayers of Paul, I always thought of them as long poetic prayers. I had read them, but had not really paid attention, I guess. However, as we have been studying, it is clear that Paul did not necessarily have long drawn out prayers that were meant to be read poetically as much as the fact that they were concise and consistent. I think we get so caught up in the how, why and where of our prayer life. Or at least I used to for sure. What is most important is not the how or the where. It is the why and well, just that we do it. I heard this the other day, God doesn’t care as much that we read our bible as He does that we pray. Prayer is our conversation with God. Now don’t get me wrong I love reading and studying my Bible, but what is birthed from my reading is this conversation that I have with God all day long. I don’t believe that Paul made sure he was in a certain posture with his hands folded every time he prayed as much as I think Paul had an ongoing conversation with God, consistently!
When Paul was mentioning the Thessalonians in his prayers he made mention of their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope”! These also seem to be common themes in many of Paul’s prayers. He recognized that the Thessalonian Christians had a true faith and that it produced love in them and their love produced hope in Jesus. That is the way our Christian lives work, as our faith grows so does our love for our fellow man and in turn it produces hope in Jesus! And that is a hope that will not fail us!
One other thing that Paul points out to the Thessalonians is that they were loved by God and that they were chosen by God. The Thessalonians were among the first Gentiles to fall into that category. But thankfully they were not the last! Paul is praying that they will remember that, that they will remember that they are loved by God and chosen by God. We are too, we are loved by God and we were chosen by God and we were meant to live from that place,
I pray the same for you my friends. I pray that as we go about this day that we will live from a place of being His Beloved and remembering that He chose us! If you are found in Christ today, you are adopted into the family of God! And for that I am grateful!