Tuesday, July 10, 2012

gospel-centered prayer

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

How I wish my prayer requests could be as focused as these requests from Paul. Paul had two things he asked the Thessalonian church to pray for concerning him. The first was that the gospel would speedily advance unhindered. He had set the work in Thessalonica as a model for gospel preaching and church planting. And he asked that the same rapid success the gospel found with them might continue in all of his ministry. Paul was a man with a gospel lifestyle. And he wanted Christ's saving life to move forward.

The closest we have to a "personal" prayer request in this passage is the second thing Paul asks for them to bring before God. Paul asked that he and his companions be delivered from evil opposition to the gospel. Paul had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel multiple times. Fierce opposition was not new to him. His ministry was marked by it. But he still asked God to protect and deliver him from it so that he could continue preaching the good news. And he wanted others praying the same thing. Why? Because if he was kept from evil opposition, the first request of having the Word of God "speed forward" could be accomplished.

I want to keep my prayers gospel-focused. How different the church would be if we all prayed primarily in this way, instead of being focused on personal health and wealth. I suppose though it should start with me. After all, I am the one who can change the way I pray first. So today, I am going to think through what it means to go to God with my prayers being gospel-focused first.

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