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Prayer of Worthiness–2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12

Eventually in our Bible study tips section we will deal with the importance of prayer sections in Paul’s writings (You can catch up on that series here).  However, let me just say here that prayer sections help us unlock the purpose of a letter.  To me it just makes sense that if a writer is sharing what he is praying about he is doing it for a reason.  Also the personal nature of prayer tells us what is on the author’s mind.

All that being said verses 11 and 12 of chapter 1 are a prayer section.  Paul tells the church what he is praying concerning them.  He wants them to know what his desire is for them, so that they can live in a way to make that desire a reality.  So what is Paul’s desire:

1.  God would count you worthy.  If you go back to verse 5 then you realize this is done in their faithfulness during times of persecution.  If they will remain faithful to God as they face this time of persecution then they will be counted worthy of God.  In fact we could take this further in saying that this book is written to allow them to learn how they need to progress in their faith so that they will be counted worthy.

2. God would fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness and the work of faith with power. Paul recognizes the heart of the Thessalonians they desire goodness and they desire to continue to have a working faith.  He says in His prayers that He ask God to grant them their desires.

3. That the name of Jesus may be glorified in you. This is probably better understood as a purpose statement for 1 and 2.  By accomplishing one and two the result would be that Jesus would be glorified in them and they would be glorified in Him.  The ultimate purpose of man (as Scripture and the ancient statements of faith attest) is that we glorify God.  Paul is stating this is accomplished when God works in and through us.

The concluding line makes it clear that Paul is not simply calling us to something that human achievement can accomplish.  In all of this we must realize the need for the grace of God and our Lord.

Your turn, what do you see in these verses that I missed?  What application would you make?

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  1. These verses are a good reminder of God’s power through us. All of our “acts prompted by faith” and all of our “good purpose” are still in need of God’s power to make a difference. These verses reminded me of I Corinthians 3:6 where Paul says he planted the seed, Appolos watered it, but God gave the growth. Verses 8 and 9 (of Corinthians) show each person has work to do, but we are in “God’s field”. The Corinthians were divided, and that was why this was being pointed out to them. The Thessalonians were working together for God’s glory, and it was pointed out to them as well. It is a good reminder to all of us, and a relief to know, that it is not all on us and that God works out the details for His glory if we will just trust Him and do His will.

  2. Wesley

    November 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    That is a great understanding. If we believe we accomplish this on our own we become self-rightous and reliant. If we believe we have nothing to do then we deny the transformative work the gospel should have on us.

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