PRAYERS OF PAUL

Prayer for Sanctification

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Paul has spent much of his letter commending the Thessalonians and then telling them the things they should be doing to live the Christian life. This is his final prayer for them in the letter. In this prayer he is letting them know they can’t do it alone. He doesn’t just want them to be good, he wants them to be sanctified. I looked up sanctify to get its meaning. It means to be set apart, holy. Paul doesn’t want the Thessalonians to just be good or to go through the motions of the Christian life, He wants them to be holy, to be set apart. He also is recognizing that this is the work of God himself. It’s not something they can achieve on their own and its not something we can achieve on our own either. 

This Christian walk is not just about being good, or not doing bad things. We can never be good enough on our own to be sanctified. But by the same token, we will never be so bad that we cannot be sanctified by God. There is nothing in our past that is so bad that Jesus blood cannot cover. There is nothing in my past that Jesus has not forgiven. And believe me, I have some things that the enemy has sure tried to tell me God would never forgive. There is nothing in your past that Jesus blood cannot forgive either. And when the God of peace sanctifies us, he does it completely, and that is the only way to reconcile your past to gain peace. It’s not something you or I can do, we can’t work hard enough, we can’t study enough, we can’t read enough bible or be “good” enough, only God can do the sanctification work in us and bring us peace to reconcile our past, our present and our future. 

That’s the next step of this sanctification, when we are sanctified by the God of peace himself, then our whole spirit, soul and body can be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord. The God of peace is the only one who can reconcile our past and walking with Him and living in the sanctification that He has already done in our hearts is what will keep us blameless until Jesus return. We will not live sinless lives, that is impossible. But when we are set apart by God, we will never be able to remain in sin. Sin will not be a comfortable place for us anymore. We will not have peace when we sin if we have been sanctified through Him. 

And the last part of this prayer is just the reassurance. “He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.” All we have to do is accept it. I think, or at least I know I have in my past felt I had to work so hard for this Christian life. When really, Jesus has already done the work.  I just have to accept what He has freely given already. And then to live to my calling, to live in the sanctification that He has done. 

Do you know someone or, maybe you yourself have had a hard time reconciling sin in your life with the present. This is a great prayer to pray for that person. The one who is tormented by memories, or having a hard time shedding the guilt and shame of a lifestyle. Pray for them to be set apart, to be sanctified completely! When you are sanctified completely there will be peace and you will be kept blameless until the day of Jesus return. He is faithful to complete the work in me, He is faithful to complete the work in you or in anyone you are praying for. 

He will surely do it! 

PRAYERS OF PAUL

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.