Sermon Nov 22, 2015 “Who and What Do You Pray For? Who Prays For You, and What Do They Pray For?” 2 Thess. 3:1-5

2 Thessalonians Sermon # 5    

Sermon Series “What Can Shake Thy Sure Repose?”                                 

November 22, 2015                  2 Thessalonians 3:1-5      

Today’s Sermon:   “Who Do You Pray for, and What Do You Pray About for Them? Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?”

  “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil (one). We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Paul asks the Christians in Thessalonica to pray for him and his missionary team, and tells these believers three things that he wants them to pray about, for his team:

  1. Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

2. Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

3. Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

 

Then in verses 3-5, Paul returns the favor by telling the Christians in Thessalonica that his team is praying for them, and that they also have three things they are praying for:

  1. Prayers for strength and protection from the evil one.

2. Prayers that they would continue in their obedience to the Word of the Lord.

3. Prayers that the Lord would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

 

So this passage of Scripture is about four things:

Who Do You Pray For?

What Do You Pray About for Them?

Who Prays for You, and

What Do They Pray About, for You?”

 

Simple and easy, right?  But these five verses and those four questions raise a number of interesting implications for us.  What do I mean by that?

Let’s start with the first question:  Who do I pray for? I would hope that you pray for those you love; that should be a given for any Christian. But Paul is asking them to pray for his missionary team: Silas, Timothy, and Paul, as they continue to bring the good news of our lord Jesus Christ to people who’ve never heard it before.  So the implication of the question, “Who do you pray for?” is “Which missionaries and evangelists are you praying for regularly?”

Think about the missionaries and Christian workers that our church supports: the Riddells, the Blairs, the Snyders, the Beals, Mark and Jungmin, Jill Page, (and today, we can add another missionary, Mary Elmore).  So you should be praying, regularly, even daily, for them.

But let’s move to the second question: “What should I pray about, for them?” [How many of us are tempted to simply pray, “Lord, please bless all the missionaries”?]

The answer to that is found in verses 1-2:

  1. Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

2. Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

3. Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

Now what might those three requests sound like?

(1) “Lord, we ask for the rapid spread of your Word. May your glorious gospel spread quickly among those who have never hear it before. Heavenly Father, use SAT-7, and social media, radio, and missionaries working among unreached people groups, to bring your precious good news to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, and others! Let the Bible be swiftly translated into all languages. May all peoples everywhere quickly hear your Word!”

(2) “Father, we are interceding for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel. Lord, may your word not return to you void, but may it accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. May the seed of your Word fall on much good soil, and bear much fruit, for your glory! Open the minds and hearts of those who hear it today, from Upper Darby to Abu Dhabi, from Montgomeryville to Mongolia, and from Bangladeshis in Hatfield to Baby Boomers in Horsham.”

(3)  “Lord, we ask you for the deliverance of your servants from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel. Our Gracious God, deliver your servants from the enemies of the gospel. Don’t allow their perverse plans to succeed. Heavenly Father, silence those who seek to discredit and slander the truth of your Holy Word. Watch over your Word and your messengers, as you have promised to do. Amen!”

That’s what these three requests might sound like as we pray for missions today.

Three applications:

One, if you aren’t praying regularly for missionaries and the spread of the gospel, I urge you to start this week, even just 2-3 minutes a day. Use the various prayer guides and missionary letters.

Two, try praying for the three things Paul mentions in vv. 1-2:

Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

Three, and this is more challenging: Be ready to have YOUR life impacted by such praying.

What do I mean? Well, when you start praying regularly for missionaries and the spread of the gospel, your heart starts to get drawn in to their lives, their struggles and their joys! You become invested in their mission, their passion, and pretty soon, you want to do more than praying. You will start asking “How can I help them? How can I get involved? Does God want me to support them financially? Does He want me to write to them regularly? Does the Lord want me to visit them on the mission field? And… gulp!… is God calling me to go as a missionary? Maybe overseas… or maybe to the 5,000 Bengalis in the Hatfield area, or to the thousands of our Jewish neighbors all around us, or to the International students at the local colleges.

You see, praying for the spread of the gospel is a dangerous activity!

You might end up being one the missionaries that other people pray for!

 

Then in vv. 3-5, we see the flip side to these prayers: Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica that his team is praying for them, and that they also have three things they are praying for:

Prayers for strength and protection from the evil one.

Prayers that they would continue in their obedient to the Word of the Lord.

Prayers that the Lord would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

We might say that if the first two verses are about “Who Do You Pray? What Do You Pray About for Them?” then the last three verses are about “Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?”

v. 3 is pivotal to what comes before and after it: (“God is faithful…”):

On the one hand, God will not allow the spread of His Word in missions to be stopped by the devil and by wicked men; on the other hand, God will not permit the life of the church to be choked out by Satan and his minions, either.

In vv. 1-3, the focus is on the Word of the Lord being spread in the world; while in vv. 4-5, the focus is on the Word of the Lord being obeyed in the church.

Here’s a question that I don’t think anyone has asked you recently: “Who Prays for You?”

Would you take a moment and write down the names of all the people who you know pray for you? Now ask yourself: “Who else should be praying for me?”

Now almost all of us have said to someone in the last week, “Please pray for me,” right?

But what are they praying about, for you? Usually our prayer requests concern health needs, difficult circumstances, salvation for a loved one. And that’s fine and good.

But look again at what Paul and his team are praying about for these Christians:

To strengthen and protect them from the evil one.

To keep them obedient to the Word of the Lord

To direct their hearts into the God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

So here’s another question for you: How many of you are asking others to pray for you along these three lines?

 What might these three requests sound like today, for you and me?

(1) “Would you pray for me that I would not give into sexual temptation this week? Could you please ask God to strengthen me in my daily disciplines of having a regular time with the Lord and to avoid spending so much time on trivial pursuits? Would you intercede for me, that God would guard my heart, so that I wouldn’t give into worry and despair, or let anger and bitterness have free reign in my heart?”

(2) “Please pray for me that when I read my Bible I would have the faith and courage to put into practice what it commands me to do. Ask God to make me confident in His power to continue making progress in my battles with sin and temptation. Pray that I would die to my pride and be willing to take the necessary Biblical steps to restore a relationship.”

(3) “Could you pray for me that the Lord would make a way for me to rest in His love, as I seek to love my spouse or my co-worker? Please ask God to give me Christ’s patient endurance as I endure non-stop pain. Intercede on my behalf that my heart, my will, my thinking can be shaped by the fruit of the Spirit, as I seek to put to death that which is fleshly in me.”

  Three Applications:

One, start doing this with at least one other person, if you aren’t already. Find a prayer partner. If you are married, are you and your spouse praying with and for each other daily? Use this sermon as a reason to start at least one praying relationship.

Two, use these three prayer topics to deepen what you share and what you pray about. Get beyond the shallow stuff. Open up. And ask for prayer for the real heart issues in your life.

Three, expect that God will begin to change you, and that He will answer the prayer requests you gave the other people. For not only is God the Holy Spirit at work in you; not only is the power that raised Jesus from the dead at work in you; but you will feel both more accountable and more expectant, as you and the people who are praying for you are believing God together, and are lovingly holding one another accountable for your lives!

Who Do You Pray? What Do You Pray About for Them?

Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?

Watch out when you start to ask and answer those four questions: It will be a game changer!

And of course all of this is based on what Jesus Christ has done for us, both in dying in our place for our sins, and now continuing to be our sympathetic High Priest, praying for us. So always go to Him first, but then avail yourself of the Body of Christ on earth, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Thessalonians Sermon # 5                Sermon Series “What Can Shake Thy Sure Repose?”                                                          November 22, 2015                                                                                2 Thessalonians 3:1-5      

Today’s Sermon:   “Who Do You Pray for, and What Do You Pray About for Them?

                                  Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?”

 

“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil (one). We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

 

In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Paul asks the Christians in Thessalonica to pray for him and his missionary team, and tells these believers three things that he wants them to pray about, for his team:

Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

 

Then in verses 3-5, Paul returns the favor by telling the Christians in Thessalonica that his team is praying for them, and that they also have three things they are praying for:

Prayers for strength and protection from the evil one.

Prayers that they would continue in their obedience to the Word of the Lord.

Prayers that the Lord would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

 

So this passage of Scripture is about four things:

Who Do You Pray For?

What Do You Pray About for Them?

Who Prays for You, and

What Do They Pray About, for You?”

 

Simple and easy, right?  But these five verses and those four questions raise a number of interesting implications for us.  What do I mean by that?

 

Let’s start with the first question:  Who do I pray for? I would hope that you pray for those you love; that should be a given for any Christian. But Paul is asking them to pray for his missionary team: Silas, Timothy, and Paul, as they continue to bring the good news of our lord Jesus Christ to people who’ve never heard it before.  So the implication of the question, “Who do you pray for?” is “Which missionaries and evangelists are you praying for regularly?”

Think about the missionaries and Christian workers that our church supports: the Riddells, the Blairs, the Snyders, the Beals, Mark and Jungmin, Jill Page, (and today, we can add another missionary, Mary Elmore).  So you should be praying, regularly, even daily, for them.

But let’s move to the second question: “What should I pray about, for them?” [How many of us are tempted to simply pray, “Lord, please bless all the missionaries”?]

The answer to that is found in verses 1-2:

Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

Now what might those three requests sound like?

(1) “Lord, we ask for the rapid spread of your Word. May your glorious gospel spread quickly among those who have never hear it before. Heavenly Father, use SAT-7, and social media, radio, and missionaries working among unreached people groups, to bring your precious good news to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, and others! Let the Bible be swiftly translated into all languages. May all peoples everywhere quickly hear your Word!”

 

(2) “Father, we are interceding for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel. Lord, may your word not return to you void, but may it accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. May the seed of your Word fall on much good soil, and bear much fruit, for your glory! Open the minds and hearts of those who hear it today, from Upper Darby to Abu Dhabi, from Montgomeryville to Mongolia, and from Bangladeshis in Hatfield to Baby Boomers in Horsham.”

 

(3)  “Lord, we ask you for the deliverance of your servants from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel. Our Gracious God, deliver your servants from the enemies of the gospel. Don’t allow their perverse plans to succeed. Heavenly Father, silence those who seek to discredit and slander the truth of your Holy Word. Watch over your Word and your messengers, as you have promised to do. Amen!”

That’s what these three requests might sound like as we pray for missions today.

 

Three applications:

One, if you aren’t praying regularly for missionaries and the spread of the gospel, I urge you to start this week, even just 2-3 minutes a day. Use the various prayer guides and missionary letters.

Two, try praying for the three things Paul mentions in vv. 1-2:

Pray for the rapid spread of the Word of the Lord (the gospel)

Pray for a God-glorifying reception of the gospel  (as it was among you)

Pray for deliverance from the faithless, perverse and evil opponents to the gospel.

Three, and this is more challenging: Be ready to have YOUR life impacted by such praying.

What do I mean? Well, when you start praying regularly for missionaries and the spread of the gospel, your heart starts to get drawn in to their lives, their struggles and their joys! You become invested in their mission, their passion, and pretty soon, you want to do more than praying. You will start asking “How can I help them? How can I get involved? Does God want me to support them financially? Does He want me to write to them regularly? Does the Lord want me to visit them on the mission field? And… gulp!… is God calling me to go as a missionary? Maybe overseas… or maybe to the 5,000 Bengalis in the Hatfield area, or to the thousands of our Jewish neighbors all around us, or to the International students at the local colleges.

You see, praying for the spread of the gospel is a dangerous activity!

You might end up being one the missionaries that other people pray for!

 

Then in vv. 3-5, we see the flip side to these prayers: Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica that his team is praying for them, and that they also have three things they are praying for:

Prayers for strength and protection from the evil one.

Prayers that they would continue in their obedient to the Word of the Lord.

Prayers that the Lord would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

 

If the first two verses are about “Who Do You Pray? What Do You Pray About for Them?” then the last three verses are about “Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?”

 

  1. 3 is pivotal to what comes before and after it: (“God is faithful…”). On the one hand, God will not allow the spread of His Word in missions to be stopped by the devil and by wicked men; on the other hand, God will not permit the life of the church to be choked out by Satan and his minions, either.

In vv. 1-3, the focus is on the Word of the Lord being spread in the world; while in vv. 4-5, the focus is on the Word of the Lord being obeyed in the church.

 

Here’s a question that I don’t think anyone has asked you recently: “Who Prays for You?”

Would you take a moment and write down the names of all the people who you know pray for you? Now ask yourself: “Who else should be praying for me?”

 

Now almost all of us have said to someone in the last week, “Please pray for me,” right?

But what are they praying about, for you? Usually our prayer requests concern health needs, difficult circumstances, salvation for a loved one. And that’s fine and good.

But look again at what Paul and his team are praying about for these Christians:

To strengthen and protect them from the evil one.

To keep them obedient to the Word of the Lord

To direct their hearts into the God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

So here’s another question for you: How many of you are asking others to pray for you along these three lines?

 What might these three requests sound like today, for you and me?

(1) “Would you pray for me that I would not give into sexual temptation this week? Could you please ask God to strengthen me in my daily disciplines of having a regular time with the Lord and to avoid spending so much time on trivial pursuits? Would you intercede for me, that God would guard my heart, so that I wouldn’t give into worry and despair, or let anger and bitterness have free reign in my heart?”

(2) “Please pray for me that when I read my Bible I would have the faith and courage to put into practice what it commands me to do. Ask God to make me confident in His power to continue making progress in my battles with sin and temptation. Pray that I would die to my pride and be willing to take the necessary Biblical steps to restore a relationship.”

(3) “Could you pray for me that the Lord would make a way for me to rest in His love, as I seek to love my spouse or my co-worker? Please ask God to give me Christ’s patient endurance as I endure non-stop pain. Intercede on my behalf that my heart, my will, my thinking can be shaped by the fruit of the Spirit, as I seek to put to death that which is fleshly in me.”

 

  Three Applications:

One, start doing this with at least one other person, if you aren’t already. Find a prayer partner. If you are married, are you and your spouse praying with and for each other daily? Use this sermon as a reason to start at least one praying relationship.

Two, use these three prayer topics to deepen what you share and what you pray about. Get beyond the shallow stuff. Open up. And ask for prayer for the real heart issues in your life.

Three, expect that God will begin to change you, and that He will answer the prayer requests you gave the other people. For not only is God the Holy Spirit at work in you; not only is the power that raised Jesus from the dead at work in you; but you will feel both more accountable and more expectant, as you and the people who are praying for you are believing God together, and are lovingly holding one another accountable for your lives!

Who Do You Pray? What Do You Pray About for Them?

Who Prays for You, and What Do They Pray About, for You?

Watch out when you start to ask and answer those four questions: It will be a game changer!

And of course all of this is based on what Jesus Christ has done for us, both in dying in our place for our sins, and now continuing to be our sympathetic High Priest, praying for us. So always go to Him first, but then avail yourself of the Body of Christ on earth, as well.