The Apostle Paul prayed many prayers over God’s people. In his 13 epistles (or 14, if you include Hebrews), Paul asks the Lord for a wide range of blessings for his churches. He asks the Lord to strengthen them (Ephesians 3:16-17), and he prays that their love for each other would grow (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
Paul prayed that the churches would have an increased knowledge of the Lord’s will (Colossians 1:9) and of the riches we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:18). He prayed that they would grow in their knowledge of their calling (Ephesians 1:18).
You can see his heart as he prays in Ephesians 1:17: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better.”
This past Sunday, we got a glimpse into a special kind of prayer that Paul prayed for the church in Thessalonica. His focus in that prayer was for their ministry to grow and flourish. He earnestly wanted that church to “bear fruit in every good work” (Colossians 1:10). And he longed to be with them so he could “supply what is lacking in (their) faith.”
Paul was taking some personal responsibility to see that his flock matured in Christ.
I am wondering this week about our own prayer lives. What kind of things do we focus on as we pray for our families, friends, and co-workers? Do we just key in on events or health considerations? Are we satisfied to just pray for issues that may not matter a year from now? Or, do we pray with passion for their souls? And as we do so, do we seek out ways to help them mature in their faith?
With the holidays just around the corner, our thoughts naturally go to beloved family and cherished friends. Maybe this is a wonderful opportunity to tune up our prayer life on their behalf and look for ways to support those prayers with conversation and action.
How can we pray for them? And then, how can we come alongside and support them as they grow and mature in Him? How can we “supply what they lack?”
Something to think about…