Praying with Paul

Joy

This devotional is written by Arabella Northey. Arabella is thankful that this year is nearly over and is so glad that an online prayerful life is still full of God's power! 

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Reflection

Without making every devotional about Covid-19 and lockdown life, there are certain links as many of us have had moments where we feel isolated and disconnected from community or God's presence. Our weekly spiritual life is upended: going to church; heading up for prayer and ministry; being brought into God's presence singing our hearts is only partially possible. Here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is writing to strengthen the young church in their faith. They first met Paul two or three years ago and are still wrestling with the big questions about Jesus alongside the challenging reality of life as persecuted people.

Paul is expressing his total joy and delight on hearing that despite their sufferings, the people of Thessalonica had turned to the Lord. God's providence never stops, even in the midst of our challenges. Let's ask for our eyes to be open to see how God is at work around us, even in the unseen. Our reality is so much more than all we can see with our eyes. Paul is praying for those in Thessalonica for their love for one another to overflow and increase. Paul has so much love for these people, he experienced countless joy when others came to faith. He was committed to praying for them and encouraging them. The life source of love comes when we are plugged into God's heart.

 I am not going to ask you to write a letter, but can you send a text today to encourage someone in their faith? Can you be the unseen part of their reality? Firstly ask God to fill you again with his never-ending supply of love, be reminded of your own journey to faith and God's providence. Then as you call upon the spirit, ask God to reveal who to encourage and what to say; pray for their heart to be strengthened and for them to know the presence of God. As you do this, you will also draw close to the Lord and feel that spiritual connection to the body of believers.

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