- The Explore the Bible lesson for May 22 focuses on 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
Prayer is an often-neglected spiritual discipline. Prayer helps believers stay aligned to God’s heart.
My mother was a woman of prayer, and she practiced “early-to-rise” prayer with her Bible open. She prayed for my conversion when I was lost with our Christ. The Lord answered her prayers, and the Lord found me and saved me.
Prayer is not convincing God to do good. In Quiet Talks on Prayer, S.D. Gordon wrote God is benevolent and wants the best for his sons and daughters. Prayer’s purpose is to obtain and understand God’s will in every situation. Prayer needs to be practiced by focusing on God’s will and having God’s word open. Prayer is not just positive thinking but a realignment of our hearts, thoughts and emotions.
His Word Runs (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2a)
Paul asks believers to pray for his ministry. He seriously wants them to pray for the endeavors of him and his partners in ministry. In church life, saying “pray for me” or “let us pray about it” is a cliché to end a conversation or table an issue at a business meeting. I believe prayer needs to take its due place in church life. Prayer should not be the last resort but the first resort. Asking for prayer is not a sign of weakness.
Paul does not feel high above the Thessalonian Christians but as one who needs as much prayer as possible. Paul’s desire is for God’s word to run, spring forward, and inundate hearts with God’s glory. God’s word cannot be contained; it will accomplish its purpose. Paul wants people to experience the powerful work of God through his word. Every work of ministry always must have two essential principles: It must be showered with prayer and rooted in God’s word.
His Word Delivers (2 Thessalonians 3:2b-3)
There is a naivete toward evil in most people. There is a tendency to live as if there are no evil and wicked people. This approach causes people not to be prepared and be deceived. God’s word warns believers of the evils of this world. God’s word guides reason and wisdom against evil. Wicked people are seeking to impede ministry and the spreading of the gospel. Therefore, these evils must be recognized.
What is the most prominent evil of this generation? In my experience, syncretism is the evil that is bombarding the Christian faith. Syncretism seeks to combine various religious beliefs connecting commonalities. The main issue with syncretism is that in Christianity, Jesus asks for exclusivity in accepting one’s sinful state and accepting his atoning death as the only way to be reconciled with God.
Through the exposure to the Scriptures, I came to know Jesus Christ. It was God’s word that ran and inundated my heart with God’s love. God’s word delivers me from evil by allowing me to know the truth about myself.
His Word Guards (2 Thessalonians 3:4-5)
Paul wants the church in Thessalonica to remember God is faithful. Satan’s original lie is that God does not keep his word. God is faithful, and this is essential to his character. God is faithful to those that believe in him. God does not have the need to lie or the capacity to lie. God’s character is based on truth. The truth of God reflects the truth about each human being. The consistency of God’s word proves his faithfulness. In this truth, we can rest assured that his word guards us against evil. The only way I can understand what is good and evil is through God’s word.
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Paul, in other letters, exhorts people not to be wavering or to be double-minded. The basis of our faith is God’s word, and the foundation of our salvation is his word. Therefore, we are established and cemented in our faith that is not wavering but strong. Amid all opposition to the truth, we are not powerless. We have the power of God’s word rooted in our hearts. God is trustworthy, for he is faithful and true.
As Paul closes this letter, he exhorts all to remember to pray for God’s will and keep his word in our hearts. The Lord guides in challenging times.
Ricardo Brambila, M.Div., is the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Dallas and the executive director for West Dallas Community School, a Christian school for boys and girls with limited financial resources in West Dallas.