2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 – Pray For Each Other

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

folded hands on an open Bible with the words overlaying: LET US PRAY for each other

When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you? It’s really an intimate request because you’re asking someone to go to the Father on your behalf. You have revealed your vulnerabilities to another human. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we have privileged access to God. When we can pray for someone else in their time of need, it is the best thing we can do.

We may often wish we could help more or give more to our friends in need. Especially now during a time of pandemic when our hands are tied a bit in how much we can interact. When we remember how powerful prayer is, it’s easier to want to be the prayer warrior for all our friends and family.

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1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 – Live Holy

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

Bible on table with cross and light beaming through a window behind shining on the cross

Paul is now closing this first letter to this young congregation in Thessalonica. They are doing so many things right; it seems Paul is afraid they are going to drop the ball. He wants them to stay holy. That is, stay connected to God. Only God is holy. And Paul says that God will “make you holy.” When we live a holy life, we are set apart, dedicated to Jesus and his purposes in the world.

We know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He’s the only way to the Father. It’s the good news we shouldn’t be keeping to ourselves. If we live a holy life, we are setting a good example for those who don’t know Jesus. It’s always my prayer that my own life will reflect Jesus in a way that draws people to him. I think that’s what Paul is talking about here.

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Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray

Read Matthew 6:5-15

Who better to learn prayer from than the Master himself. Jesus is giving us a model to follow. Did you recognize the prayer? In the tradition I grew up in, we prayed that every Sunday. The Lord’s Prayer was something we memorized as a young child. In Confirmation classes, we unpacked the meaning for a deeper understanding of what we had been saying over and over.

It’s easy to get lazy when we say something over and over. It’s almost like being on autopilot. We need to be careful to not just go through the motions but truly be present in the moment saying the words as if we were saying them for the first time. Jesus also cautioned us not to be like hypocrites, drawing attention to ourselves when we pray.

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Ephesians 3:1-13 – God’s Mysterious Plan

Read Ephesians 3:1-13

We are part of God’s mysterious plan. It was kept hidden until God chose to reveal it to Paul. As followers of Jesus, we share in the same blessings God’s chosen people have been given. When we believe in the Good News, that is in Jesus’ saving grace, we are given access to God.

When you understand the history and how people feared God, we can see how this is a really big deal. Jesus has come and revealed himself to us as God. We now have great treasures available to us. Do you have a hard time believing it? Continue reading “Ephesians 3:1-13 – God’s Mysterious Plan”

James 5:13-20 – Prayer is Powerful

Read James 5:13-20

The answer is the same – PRAY! The question could be, “What should I do next?” or “How am I ever going to make it through this day” or “Am I ever going to be well again?” Pray. Pray. Pray.

If you are searching for something or troubled by circumstance, pray. Prayers are answered everyday.

Do you ever wonder why your prayers aren’t answered. Could it be that they were just answered differently than you would have hoped?

Did you offer your prayer in faith? What does that mean to you? To me, it means I pray to God with the faith and assurance that he is going to answer my prayer according to his will. If we are praying outside his will for us, it is likely to be answered differently than we were hoping.

We used to use the first half of verse 16, in our recovery ministry. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” There is a lot of power in confessing your wrongs to another person. Sometimes it’s easier than confessing the same sin to God. Together, you can pray to God, for each other, and miraculous healing can take place. It’s almost like a double cleansing.

When we keep our sins and wrongdoings to ourselves, the guilt or shame can only fester inside us until we release it. What sin are you holding tight to, wanting to keep hidden from view?

The second half of verse 16, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” If we are right with God (righteous) our prayers will have more power. Our hearts are right and in direct alignment with  God’s will and plan for us. It is also more likely that our prayers won’t be for something outside of God’s will anyway, and therefore the results will be more dramatic. God looks at our hearts.

The book of James ends with  an observation about the one missing from the fold. God’s heart longs for his missing sheep that have wandered off. We all know one or more of these folks. They may be people who grew up in the faith but then walked away during college or as a young adult. Or perhaps they were new followers who were never connected with a church fellowship to shepherd them. Or perhaps it’s someone we see in church every Sunday but who has  never embraced a relationship with God.

James adds, “whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” We need to be that “whoever” and be watching for those brothers and sisters who have wandered off.

There are so many enticements in the world, as there have always been. It is our job to be strong and rise above and conquer. Yet, the little voices in our heads can be so convincing – “sleep in on Sunday, you deserve it” or “go ahead, nobody is watching.”

Don’t believe it. God is watching. God is waiting. We need to be praying and keeping ourselves connected to our creator.

Let’s pray. Lord thank you for the open line of communication we have with you to pray at all times. When something doesn’t go my way, help me overcome the disappointment. Instead of questioning why, may I turn to you and rely on your comfort and redirection. I know you heart longs for those lost to you to return. Use me God to help shepherd them back so they can have life and be forgiven. Lead me to those opportunities. Use our business and the contacts we make. Bless it for your purposes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.