Beyond Good Intentions
Today’s Scripture Readings Psalm 115:9-13 | Jeremiah 22:1-23:20 | 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 | Proverbs 25:11-14
Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Thessalonians 1
“We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV).
Here is another of Paul’s great prayers. Again, I encourage you to make these prayers a regular part of your prayer life.
Note Paul’s consistency: “we constantly pray for you.” Paul understood the need for prayer–persevering prayer. So often we grow tired and give up. Paul kept on praying for them. His prayer life is an example to us–and a challenge to us.
His petition is that “God would count them worthy of his calling.” They were undergoing “persecutions and trials” (4). Paul’s prayer is that they would remain faithful and persevere even through the difficult times, the trials of life are where our faith is tested and proved. It is especially in those times we need this prayer, “God enable me to walk in a way that is worthy of my calling. It’s not easy right now, I need your help.”
Paul then gets specific in his praying. Here is how I’m asking God to do this: “by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.” He is asking God to give them the power of the Holy Spirit to follow through and be obedient. They want to live lives that are worthy, but they need the power of the Holy Spirit to do so.
In our own strength, we have many good purposes and many good intentions, but little follow through. Paul is praying for the strength to follow through and accomplish all the good things we intend to do for the Lord. Paul is praying for these Christians to not only be people of good intentions, but people who follow through to finish all that God has called them to do–and to finish well.
The reason for this prayer? “We pray this 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.” The “so that” of Paul’s prayer–the reason–is that he wants the name of Jesus to be glorified as we live in intimate fellowship with Him by his grace. Following through and living lives in a way that glorifies Jesus, especially when it difficult to do so–when life is hard–that’s real Christianity. That’s the kind of Christianity that offers hope to the world. It’s what we all need.
Father, count us worthy of your calling that by your power you may fulfill every good purpose we have and every act prompted by our faith so that the name of Jesus may be glorified in us and we in him. Amen