Do you seek God’s direction in every aspect of your life? Or, do you have the same struggle as I do in which you make your decisions and then ask God to bless those decisions or to rescue from their consequences? May we learn to be like Paul and pursue a God-directed and Christ-oriented life. To do so, daily prayer is absolutely essential.
If you had the chance to ask the Apostle Paul any one question, what would it be? Would it be theological? Would it practical? Would it be historical?
Because of my pragmatic nature, I think I’d ask him to give me 3-4 things that a Christian should do to grow in his or her faith.
Since I can’t ask him that question, I’ve thought about what actions he might identify as essential for a Christian to live a faithful life as I’ve worked my way through 1 Thessalonians with our congregation. I’ve concluded that he would say there are four things that we must do, in addition to placing our faith in Christ, in order to be faithful throughout our lives. They are:
- Read and believe the Bible (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
- Live your life in accordance with the Bible’s instructions and in preparation for Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
- Be an active member of the fellowship of believers — the Church (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:14).
- Devote yourself to Prayer (1 Thessalonians 3:9; 5:11).
Each of these actions is worthy of more than a mention, but I want to take this opportunity to focus on the last — devote yourself to prayer. Paul is certain that living a faithful Christian life is not possible without an active prayer life. This is evident in the testimony of his life as recorded in Acts and in each of his epistles.
Think about 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13, for example.
6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so 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.
There are five specific ways that Paul prays in these 7 verses, but two stand out. Walk with me through them.
First, Paul thanks God for His provision and blessing in his life (3:9).