A prayer for Direction, Love and Holiness
“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 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.” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
When Paul writes in his letter “Now may our God and Father himself” it shows that he is redirecting his letter to the Thessalonians to write out his prayer to God for them. Paul has spent much of his letter commending their faith and their love, but He wants more for them. And he really wants to witness it in person. So the first thing that Paul is praying for here is to come to the Thessalonians. Why? Because Paul knows that he can encourage them with written words, but nothing is like in person learning. I think the same holds true for us. I am a reader, I love to read books that are written to encourage faith by Christian authors. But nothing fills me up like sitting under the teaching of my pastor or other Christian teachers. I love a good conference that fills my soul. I think that’s what Paul was getting at here. He knew that his written words could encourage the Thessalonians, but nothing would encourage them like sitting under the teaching of the apostle. So Paul was praying that God would direct his path to the Thessalonians.
The next thing Paul prays for them is that their love would increase for one another. Now I think from what I’ve read that the Thessalonians were doing a lot right in this department as well. They loved each other but they still had room to grow in love. Love is something that is never completely full. As you give it away it only grows more and more. Paul wanted their love for each other to grow more and more just as his love for them was growing more and more. I love our church and the people of our church and as my love grows for them, it only has more room to grow, but I truly believe, it grows more and more when we are seeing each other and attending regularly. And as we grow in love for our people and our church and for the people of God, our hearts are more established in holiness.
Now I know that we will never fully arrive at holiness on this side of glory. We can’t, but we can continually, until we take our last breath, grow toward holiness. I think one thing that Paul is saying here is as your love grows for each other, your thoughts become more and more holy toward each other as well. That is when our hearts are established in holiness.
This prayer shows Paul praying for three things, he wanted to be with the Thessalonians to teach them, he wanted their love to be bountiful and he wanted them to have true holiness in their hearts. I think this also shows three things that are important for us today.
I believe we were made for community. The past couple of years have been challenging for us to have community. I know for me personally, I can read lots of books, I can watch lots of teaching on videos, I can listen to lots of podcasts, but nothing compares to having my community and sitting under some in person teaching.
As we grow in our communities under in person teaching, I pray that our love grows and abounds more and more. Take note, the enemy loves nothing more than to tear down our communities. He has had a hey day with it the last couple of years, hasn’t he. But another way he tears down is to tear down our love for each other. I pray for my community and I pray for yours that our love will abound more and more for each other. Let’s try to recognize and not give heed to the enemy when he is tearing us down and give grace to each other and just love each other. With all our faults with all our hurts and with all our shortcomings, let’s pray that our love will cover them and will abound more and more.
And because of that love we have for each other, our hearts can be established and can grow toward holiness. When our Lord returns or he calls us home whichever comes first, may he find us established in holiness.