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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lenschow

Praying For Others Like Paul

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

1. Recognize the Context:

Previous Context: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

Paul believed the Thessalonian church was maturing and persevering in the face of suffering and persecution, and all this provided evidence verifying God’s judgment about them. This evaluation confirmed they were counted worthy of the kingdom of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul urged them to live a life “worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” Here he confirmed that this was precisely how they were living.

In verses 6-7, God is described as just. He will punish those who trouble his people and will bring relief to those troubled. This vindication of God’s people will occur at the return of Christ. In verse 8, those who will be punished are described as those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They are people who have rejected the gospel. The result of this rejection will be separation from the Lord's presence. Those who, like the Thessalonians, have received the message of the gospel, will experience the presence of Christ and will worship him.

2. Read the Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Reflect on the Scripture::

Verses 11-12 follow Paul’s thanksgiving (verses 5-10) and provide a “prayer report.” Paul informed the Thessalonian church specifically how he had been praying for them.

Verse 11 begins, “with this in mind.” This phrase points back to what Paul had said in the thanksgiving (verses 5-10). Given their suffering, and the guarantee of God's vindication and judgment, Paul's prayed God would make them worthy of his calling. In this verse, one can hear the echo of verse 5, in which he used a similar phrase to encourage the Thessalonians to live worthy of the kingdom of God.

Paul also prayed God would work by his power to fulfill their inner desire for doing what was right (goodness, a fruit of the Spirit-Galatians 5:22-25). Additionally, he prayed God would work through their actions produced from faith. Here, Paul returned to a consideration of the church’s faith mentioned in verse 3 above, and he used the exact phrase found in his previous letter (1 Thess. 1:3) when discussing faith, hope, and love.

The mention of Christ’s glorification in verse 12, is similar to verse 10 above. Paul prayed the name of the Lord Jesus would be glorified in his people, which was just another way to refer to the Lord being glorified. In the ancient Near East and for the Jews in the first century, to refer to a person’s name was to refer to that person. Here Paul’s wording provided an allusion to Isaiah 66, which occurred throughout this first chapter. Here Paul reinterpreted Isaiah 66:5 in light of the risen Christ. What applied to Israel’s God in the Old Testament was now understood through the lens of Christ.

4. Relate to life:

Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.

To pray:

Today, pray that God by his Spirit will cause you to live a life worthy of the calling you received when you responded to Christ.

Today, pray God's Spirit will increase your desire to do what is good and right. Pray, this will be evident by actions that reflect your faith.

Today, pray that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him.

Remember that everything within the Christian life is by the continued sustaining grace of the triune God.

To do: (with the Holy Spirit's help)

Given the prayer suggestions, what can you incorporate into your life today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, co-workers.

Who specifically in your church community can you share what you are learning and being reminded of from the book of 2 Thessalonians?

Think of a few specific people you can pray for using Paul's "prayer report." Try praying for them every day for a week.

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