Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power. — 2 Thessalonians 1:11
One of my favorite songs includes a repeated phrase, “Someone is praying for you.” That thought touches my heart because I know from experience that it is a real blessing when people of God uphold me in prayer.
After being single for over thirty years, while I was praying one day, God impressed on my mind who He wanted me to marry. For several days as I prayed, I kept getting the same answer. At that stage of life, I knew that remaining single was not the worst thing that could happen to me — but marrying the wrong person might be! As a result, I wanted to be absolutely sure it was really God speaking to me and not just my own feelings. I decided to involve some close spiritual friends to help me ascertain God’s will.
I wrote to four people of God who had prayed for me regarding the issue of marriage, knowing that if they knew what was going on, they would support me even more with their prayers. My letters said that I thought I had found the person God wanted me to marry, but he had not yet proposed. I asked that they pray fervently that if this man were not the one God wanted me to marry, God would stop him from proposing marriage to me. I wanted to be sure that I married within God’s will, and I knew these people would help me pray it through.
They prayed, and six months later this man proposed marriage to me. By the time he did so, there was no doubt in my mind that God was answering all the stored up prayers that many had prayed on my behalf. My husband and I will be celebrating our fourteenth wedding anniversary this year, and I can say with all my heart that God gave me not only a husband, but also a true friend and a companion in the Lord. I could never have asked for a better husband than the one God gave me. How I appreciate those people of God who prayed for me!
The Thessalonians benefited greatly from the regular prayers of people like Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. What better way could there be to support people? We may not have the resources to help financially. We may not have the skills or the time to help with physical needs. But we can all determine to pray for a person or a group of believers on a regular basis.
Let us make it a point to pray for all the people whose lives touch ours. What a blessing that will be, both to them and to us!
Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica was written as an encouragement, but the purpose of this second epistle was to correct misunderstandings and false teaching about Christ’s Second Coming. Still, Paul began the letter — as he did most of his epistles — with affirming and encouraging words, commending the Thessalonian believers concerning their faith. Since the Apostle had already visited this church, he was in a good position to evaluate its progress. How great an encouragement it must have been for these believers to read that Paul perceived that their faith had grown tremendously and the true love of God was evident in the life of each member. No doubt they yearned to be faithful witnesses and, by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, Paul told them that anyone could see God’s love in their lives, especially in the way they treated one another.
Paul’s other main message of encouragement was related to the perseverance of the church. He commented that other churches were aware of their trials, so they did not need to feel isolated or forgotten. He encouraged them to continue to persevere by reminding them about the judgment of the wicked, especially those who were opposing their work for the Gospel.
Verse 8 is one of many Biblical passages that explicitly describe the punishment of sinners as happening by fire, and verse 9 tells us the punishment will be eternal. By contrast, rest is the reward of the faithful saints (specifically the Thessalonian church in this passage). Paul reminded the Thessalonians that it was their faith that would allow them to be included in this final victory.
He concluded by assuring the church that he and others in the churches were always praying for them, that this would not be just a hope, but a reality. He reminded them that the purpose of it all — the persecution, the judgment, Christ’s return, the church’s spiritual success — was not for their own sakes, but for the glory of God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction (1:1-12)
A. The salutation (1:1-2)
1. The writer and his companions; the recipients and their state (1:1)
2. The twofold blessing (1:2)
B. The thanksgiving (1:3-10)
1. For their growth in faith and love (1:3)
2. For their patience in affliction (1:4-10)
a. Patience recognized (1:4-5)
b. Punishment coming (1:6-10)
(1) The principle and the time (1:6-7)
(2) The recipients (1:8)
(3) The punishment (1:9-10)
C. The prayer (1:11-12)
1. The petitions (1:11)
2. The goal (1:12)
When we go through hard times, we are not alone in our suffering. Not only does God see it, but very likely others are praying for us as well! Our faithful response to trials will bring joy and encouragement to the hearts of others and ensure a spiritual reward for us in eternity.