Prayer for Success
2 Thess. 1: 11-12
The coming of the Lord moved Paul to pray for his Thessalonian brothers and sisters. He prayed that they might have a good testimony not only at their present life but also when the Lord comes. We must never neglect praying, especially now that Christ’s return is closer.
One of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith is that God wants us to talk to Him about
everything that is going on in our lives, even though He already knows everything. So why pray?
If you’ve ever wrestled with that question, perhaps the thoughts of the 19th-century preacher R. A. Torrey can help. Among the reasons he gave for prayer are these:
1. Because there is a devil, and prayer is a God-appointed way to resist Him (Eph. 6:12-13, 18).
2. Because prayer is God’s way for us to obtain what we need from Him (Lk. 11:3-13; Jas. 4:2).
3. Because prayer is the means God has appointed for us to find “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
4. Because prayer with thanksgiving is God’s way for us to obtain freedom from anxiety and to receive “the peace of God” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Besides these reasons, it’s enough to read the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” and realize that God wants us to talk with Him. Yes, He is all-knowing, but He also desires our fellowship. When we seek God’s face in prayer, we strengthen our relationship with Him. That’s the most important reason to pray. —JDB
I. Paul Prayed Always (2 Thess. 1:11a)
A. Consistency and persistence are an essential part of effectual prayer.
1. God’s people are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17),
2. To continue instant or steadfast in prayer (Rom. 12:12),
3. To pray always (Eph. 6:18),
4. To continue in prayer (Col. 4:2).
B. Jesus told two parables to emphasize the importance of persistence in prayer: the
parable of the friend who needs bread (Lu. 11:5-9) and the parable of the widow
who drove a judge to distraction by her unceasing entreaties (Lu. 18:1-6).
C. Paul prayed for others (“we pray always for you”). This is intercessory prayer.
1. Paul prayed for the unsaved Jews (Rom. 10:1), for the brethren in Rome (Rom.
1:9), in Corinth (2 Cor. 13:7), in Ephesus (Eph. 1:16), in Philippi (Ph. 1:4), in
Colosse (Col. 1:3), in Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:11), for Timothy (2
Tim. 1:3), for Philemon (Phm. 1:4), for those he had not seen face to face (Col.
2:1). Paul’s example is in great contrast with those who pray only or largely for
themselves and their own.
2. Like Paul, we should be praying for others. We are quick to pray for our
immediate family but not for someone else’s family.
3. It is good to know that we can count on certain people to pray for us in times of
trouble. When people join together in prayer, things happen. It is said that
prayer moves the hand that moves the world. (D. Cloud)
Christians should be at their best when they are in prayer. When we enter prayer, we enter the presence of God. We cannot pretend in God’s presence for He sees our heart. He is the only being who fully knows our hearts. He exposes all the hypocrisy of our hearts. It’s a sad thing that people pray while listening to the radio or even watching TV with their minds wandering.
II. Paul’s concerns in His Prayer.
A. That our God would count you worthy of this calling (1 Thess. 1:11a)
Paul had stated that he wanted them to be worthy of the kingdom when they
entered glory in the future. But here he emphasized their present situation. God’s
calling was in grace and love, and Paul desired that they might live up to that calling
(2 Thess. 2:13-14).
Trials do not make a person; they reveal what a person is made of. When our faith is
tried, we are revealing our worth (1 Pet. 1:6-9). God certainly knows our hearts
even before we are tried, but we do not know our own hearts. And others do not
know what we are worth. We need to pray that God will build our worth and make
us more valuable Christians because of the trials we have endured.
B. Paul prayed that God would “fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness” (2 Thess.
The Holy Spirit here declares that, through him, the Thessalonians would bring “the
good pleasure of goodness” to fruition in their lives. “Goodness” is more than
kindness for it can include stern qualities (Mat. 21:12,13; 23:13-29). In every case, it
includes the idea of giving or generosity. This is a quality of a person filled with the
Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23)
All goodness in us comes from God’s grace, not from self. “Good pleasure” means a
good desire. Paul prays that their will would line up with their calling.
C. Paul prayed that God would fulfill “the work of faith” (2 Thess. 1:11). We fulfill the
good pleasure of God’s goodness by faith. It is faith in God that produces the works.
This means that we believe the Bible, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). We pray by faith. The husband loves his wife by
faith. The wife honors her husband by faith. We obey our parents by faith. We are
faithful to church by faith. We give by faith. We preach the gospel by faith. Without
faith in God, no works are acceptable to Him.
D. Paul prayed that God would fulfill the work of faith “with power” (2 Thess. 1:11).
Faith carries power. Do we do the pleasure of God’s will by faith with power? We
cannot live a life of faith without God’s power. We will never reach the potential of
our faith without that power
E. He prayed “that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and ye in
him” (2 Thess. 1:12).
Jesus Christ will be glorified in His saints when they return with Him (2 Thess. 1:10);
but He should also be glorified in our lives today. Unbelievers blaspheme His name
(1 Pet. 4:12), but believers bless His name and seek to glorify it. The amazing thing is
that the believer who glorifies Christ is likewise glorified in Christ, “‘glorified in you,
and ye in Him”
How can this be done? “According to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ” (2
Thess. 1:12). Grace and glory go together, as do suffering and glory (Ps. 45:2-3;
84:11; Rom. 5:2; 2 Cor. 8:19; 1 Pet. 5:10). As we receive His grace, we reveal His
“There is no peace,’ saith the Lord, ‘unto the wicked'” (Isa. 48:22). No rest for the
wicked! But there is rest for those who trust Christ and seek to live for His glory. For
the Christian, the best is yet to come. We know that “the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”
Illustration 3: Aim of Prayer
The aim of prayer is not to force God’s hand or make him do our will against his own, but to deepen our knowledge of him and our fellowship with him through contemplating his glory, confessing our dependence and need, and consciously embracing his goals. Our asking therefore must be according to God’s will and in Jesus’ name.
The context of such asking is assured faith. In that day when Jesus teaches them, by the Spirit, plainly of the Father, there will be no question of enlisting Jesus’ support in prayer, as if he were more merciful than the Father or could influence him in a way that they could not; in that day they know inwardly that as believers they are the Father’s beloved.
To asked in Jesus’ name is not to use a verbal spell but to base our asking on Christ’s saving
relationship to us through the cross; this will involve making petitions which Christ can endorse and put his name to. When God answers in Jesus’ name, he gives through Jesus as our mediator and to Jesus as the one who will be glorified through what is given.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for July 18
We should always pray consistency and persistently specially now that the coming of the
Lord is at hand. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians will be counted worthy of their
calling, that God would “fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, that God would
fulfill “the work of faith”, that God would fulfill the work of faith “with power”, that the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified”. Would you do the same to your fellow