By Mollie Emerson

Praying Beyond Ourselves

One of my favorite parts of Paul’s epistles is when Paul transparently shares what he prays for.

Paul doesn’t just write to the churches in order to correct and instruct, but also to encourage and to remind them that he cares. 

The way that Paul prays for the early believers is powerful and inspiring:  “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

“Make You Worthy of His Calling”

The first thing that stuck out to me was this phrase. Paul is praying that the early Christians would be made worthy. And that they would be made worthy today—present tense.  Not some day in the distant future. That they would not wait for Jesus to come back to glorify his name, but that they would act in ways worthy of their calling…today.

“Fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power”

This line carries implications for how we live our daily lives.

Paul is praying that the Thessalonians would live according to God’s purpose for them. In the NLT version this phrase is translated as:

May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

As our faith moves us to live lives worthy of our calling, God’s power gives us the ability to do so.

That God’s Glory Would Abound

Finally, Paul concludes this prayer with the reason behind it all: that God’s glory would abound. His glory is what we look forward to being revealed when Jesus returns.  God’s glory is why we make every effort to live with purpose during our time here on earth.

Personal Reflections

After reflecting on these verses I felt like I needed to examine how I was praying for my friends and family. I think part of why I’m attracted to Paul’s prayers is because of how much is packed into just a few words. There is such depth. Although my prayers are often limited to specific times and circumstances, Paul prays for people in a way that encompasses every aspect of life.  His prayers challenge me to pray beyond the scope of situation, and instead to pray for transformed lives that bring Him glory.

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