Paul praised and thanked God for the stamina, endurance of the Thessalonian church in facing persecutions and trials in 2 Thessalonians 1. One word I do want to bring up to us : When we are trying hard to press on in our lives for a calling, for a vision, for a dream, or facing trials/persecutions, remember that if we are walking with the Lord, it’s the grace of God that’s working in us. It can’t be just us dreaming and have a self centered ambition pressing on, be cause that will be of the flesh, and that will be religion, which will get you no where and wear you out. But when you understand and acknowledge that it’s the grace of God working powerfully behind us, suddenly all dams breaks loose. It’s a powerful theological position that we, all Christians, must take, as this is God centered, Christ centered. Grace oriented.
How do we frame our prayers?—Prayer/Faithfulness
2 Thessalonians 1: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Recently I was struck by what Don Carson wrote about how we pray are very different from how Paul prayed. Paul prayed in a phenomenal class A prayer if we call our prayers as Class C. Let me explain. Our general prayers consist of about 10% thanksgiving and worship to God, and the rest about 90% of the time will be requests, petitions (generally). Whilst the book of Psalms is the most intimate, personal prayers one can ever pray, and I love psalms way of prayers which I follow almost daily, but there is another stark different way of prayer by the apostle Paul as in 1 Thessalonians 1 and other books by him. It’s amazing to see how intense is prayers is and the second thing is how much he longs for a passionate for the church he planted. Almost his entire prayers are thanking God for his grace that is powerfully working in the people’s’ lives, and that he is always praying and thanking God for their faith in God growing and their endurance in facing persecutions and trials. There is no mention of prayers like how we would normally pray-O God protect them from persecutions, and stop the evils. But Paul is focusing of the inner growth of the folks as their endurance grows. In fact, the word “faith” in 1 Thess 1 in Greek means fidelity. Fidelity or faithfulness to God. In other words, Paul is more interested that we grow in our faithfulness to God and actually praise God because of persecutions; he sees tremendous substance of growth in the people’s’ lives. 2 Thess 1:4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
Then the source of power for being able to endure is very important. If we just try harder on our own strength in God, I mean, even in God, because it’s very subtle, we would feel deflated and discouraged after a period of time. Because that’s religion. Not the gospel where the grace of God is working in enormous stride in us. It’s all Him. Paul said-Grace & peace from God to you… it’s the grace of God that works mightily in us that our faith is growing.