2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
The Encouragement of Prayer. I cannot remember who Matt quoted, but in Life Group a couple weeks ago, he shared a quote that someone looked back at their life and said, “I wish I would have prayed more.” Prayer is an often neglected aspect of our walk with the Lord. I am speaking from experience here. I thoroughly enjoy learning and studying God’s Word. There is so much there especially when you dig deep. BUT, that is only one facet of my walk. I can study, read and learn all I want, but if I neglect direct communication with the Lord, I am missing a very major piece. That is exactly what prayer is: direct communication with the Lord. We can just pray what is on our heart, what we are excited about for the day, our anxieties, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, etc. This is a pivotal aspect of our relationship. I, personally, struggle with this, yet there are many a verse that reiterate the importance of prayer. A short song we sing with our girls that Alana and I learned from a dear soul, Dwight Knight, says, “if you want to have a little talk with Jesus, very simply do it. Very simply do it. You don’t have to worry about special words or phrases.” It’s as simple as that.
Prayer is not only an encouragement bestowed upon us when we engage in it, but it is also an encouragement to others even if they don’t know we are praying for them. When we pray for others, we are interceding on their behalf with the Lord. There is a benefit to all when prayer is active and continuous. This is a great lesson to us all. Wiersbe lays out three aspects to this:
Their worthiness: Trials do not make a person; they reveal what a person is made of (Wiersbe). When we go through trials or see others go through trials, it will prove what we are made of in how we react to those situations. Prayer is major component to how we react. When do we take the time to lay our trials before the Lord? Is it immediately? Is it an afterthought? Is it after the situation is resolved in our favor as a simple, “thank you, Lord?” Is it never? One aspect of being counted worthy is our communication with the Lord, always yes, but especially in trials.
Their walk: Wiersbe states, “Obedience and service do not spring from human talent and efforts, but from God’s power as we trust Him.” One aspect of trust is taking what we have before Him in prayer. Our walk with the Lord should be laid on the foundation of prayer. Prayer stated in these verses counts us worthy, fulfills all our good pleasure, are works of faith and power, and Christ is glorified in us. If our walk with the Lord includes prayer as a major piece, this list will surely be resolute in our lives.
Their witness: If we are prayerful continually and laying ourselves at the Lord’s feet, our actions daily will be a witness to others. I have been reiterating to my girls lately especially with everything going on in our world and especially country that there are two kinds of people in our world: those who trust in Jesus and those who do not trust in Jesus. That is it! Nothing else! This distinction pretty much nullifies any discussion of race, color, religious affiliation or any other thing the world and most specifically Satan will try and divide us on. For those of us who do trust in Jesus, our job is to live a life worthy of our calling and be a witness to others, so they may see Jesus in us and then believe. How does this happen: according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is a major component to our witness as it puts us in direct communication on a consistent basis with the Lord. This counts us worthy of our calling, provides a foundation for our walk with Him, and is a witness to others.