The Lowdown from Highlands - Pray Biblically
Posted November 11, 2011 by Steve Hafler
I am struck with the importance of Paul's prayer for the Thessalonian believers in 1 Thessalonians 3:10-11 and how that relates to our mutual service at Highlands. Since Paul's situation is not a direct layover we need to understand that "all Scripture is... profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Paul prays that he might be able to strengthen these believers - people he evangelized and was torn away from by Satanic hinderance (Acts 17:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:8).
1 Thessalonians 3:10-11
[A]s we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?  Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you,.
Paul is a sincere Christian deeply involved in the lives of real people and their needs.
Notice three details demanding our attention as members of Christ's body.
"Night and day" - the importance of frequent and regular prayer times for each other, and knowing what things to pray for (have a target). We need to pray biblically informed prayers.
"earnestly... that we may see and supply" - This is the burden which fuels Paul's constant prayer. Paul has a genuine love for these believers and he desires to be with them so that he may help them in what they lack (Scriptural ignorance rather than sinful rebellion). He had only been with them a short time before he was removed. NOTE: The connection of intercessory prayer and his own service. Prayer is not a substitute for Christian service but an integral part of it. Prayer is the part of ministry that allows the actual "hands-on" strategy and implementation to unfold. If we lead and encourage our people to pray for cross-cultural ministry we just might see them develop a personal burden for that which they pray. Maybe our young people will be in prayer to God and have impressed upon their heart God's words "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us." Maybe they will respond as Isaiah did, "Here am I! Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).
"may our God... direct our way to you." Paul is aware of the spiritual dynamics that prevent him from serving (2:18; 3:11). These hindrances do not stop him from praying but rather fuel his intercessions with greater fervency and urgency. We too are in the midst of spiritual warfare and resistance. Never underestimate what is going on in the spiritual realm. This alone ought to fuel passionate intercession for each other and enable us to show grace to those struggling rather than throw stones at them. Paul prays that somehow God would grant to him the ministry of discipling and helping them further.
Grace and peace,