Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;2 Thessalonians 3:1(NASB)
Paul was a man who recognised his utter dependence upon the Lord and the futility of attempting to work the works of God in his own strength, knowledge, education, acumen, and abilities. He realised the importance of prayer in dealing with problems that might arise in his own ministry, as well as in the corporate Body of Christ. In many of his epistles, we find this great apostle of God asking his brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for him, and he often gave them great assurances that he was praying for them also. Paul understood that the practice of prayer would result in spiritual growth and maturity in the faith, because of the power of God and His precious promises.
Both of his letters to the Thessalonian believers were written from the corrupt city of Corinth, a major port city in southern Greece which was evidently a satanic stronghold where idolatry and hedonism pervaded its walls. And in both letters to the Thessalonians, Paul makes a special request that intercessions be made for him and his ministry team, to penetrate through the ungodliness in this pagan city with the good news of the gospel of Christ Jesus: "Finally, brethren," he writes in chapter 3, "pray for us that the Word of the Lord will spread rapidly and that God would be glorified, just as it did also with you."
Paul is not simply bringing his letter to an end when he says: "Finally, brethren." Whenever the apostle uses this phrase, it is designed to spur his readers on to an important duty, which should be freely acted upon, based on love and genuine concern. Paul wanted his readers in Thessalonica to pray earnestly that his ministry in Corinth would spread quickly and not be hindered, that it would bring forth much fruit, and that the Lord Jesus would be glorified.
By encouraging the Thessalonian believers to be partners with him in praying for the idolatrous city of Corinth, Paul was also enabling them to be partakers of the joy of hearing that many in Corinth were coming to faith in Christ and being saved by God's amazing grace. And in Acts 18, we discover that God answered many of the prayers that were offered up by the Thessalonian Christians, for we read: "Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians, when they heard, were believing and being baptised."
It is important to note that Paul was not above asking for prayer from his brothers and sisters in Christ. He was convinced that the Lord is a God who hears and answers prayer, and that God is ready and willing to respond to our prayers and intercessions. He wanted all his readers to realise that genuine prayer demonstrates a deep dependence on God, and it is an activity that can help to bring us to a mature faith in Him so that we may be complete in Christ, lacking nothing.
As was Paul's practice in many of his epistles, he exhorts his readers to pray earnestly, to keep on praying, and to make heartfelt intercessions for the spread of the gospel to the glory of God. He wanted their prayer ministry to become an important part of their daily practice. And surely, as we read Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, it should become the desire of our heart to pray in a similar manner, that the Word of the Lord would spread rapidly through the individuals and ministries for whom we pray, and that just as the Lord Jesus was exalted when Paul and his team were ministering in Thessalonica, He would be glorified through the people, ministers, and ministries that God has placed on our heart.
What a privilege that we Christians in this 21st century, can take part in the same important prayer ministry with which Paul and the Thessalonians were involved. And as we earnestly offer prayers and intercessions in our generation, we trust that the gospel of grace would spread quickly and not be hindered, that there would be much fruit, and that our Father in heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ would be glorified.
May we exhibit the same care and concern for the lost souls of our unbelieving world as Paul, partnering in prayer with the Thessalonians, showed to the perverted city of Corinth. And let us not lose heart or be discouraged, but remember that, in some amazing way, the success of the evangelistic work of our Christian brethren and those who teach the Word of truth, is dependent on the intercessions of God's people.
Finally, let us rejoice that the power of God to change the unbelieving hearts of the ungodly is the same in our own generation as it was in Paul's day. May we be earnest in supplications, and stand firm in our personal prayer ministry, resolving to pray earnestly and keep on praying that the gospel of Christ is effective today, that it will spread rapidly in these closing days of the Church dispensation, and that God will be greatly glorified.
Heavenly Father, I come before You today with a humble heart and mind, beseeching You to move in a mighty way in these closing days of the Church dispensation. I pray that Your gospel of Christ would be effective and spread rapidly throughout the world, bringing glory to Your name. Thank You for my Christian brethren and those who teach the Word of truth. Empower them with strength and courage to continue proclaiming the good news of the gospel of grace. Equip each one with the resources they need to effectively reach out to the lost and hurting. May Your Spirit move in a powerful way in the hearts of those who hear the gospel message, that they would be drawn to it, and come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Thank You, Father, for the privilege of intercessory prayer, and I ask that You would draw me closer to Yourself as I stand firm in my personal prayer ministry for Your greater glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.