Links to chapters 2 though 5 of 1 Thessalonians are available at the end of this post.
Happy Monday, Friends! I’m so glad you can join me! As we’ve been learning in our series on experiencing More Power in Prayer, one of the keys to effective prayer is praying according to God’s will. So starting today, I’m going to be spending Mondays reading to see, “What is God’s Will?” and then pray it! I’m beginning in the book of 1 Thessalonians, chapter one.
I’m sitting here with my cup of hot herbal tea and my own notebook, with “1 Thessalonians” written across the top of the page. My husband is finishing a remodel on the sunroom off my kitchen and diningroom. He just finished installing the flooring, and I can’t wait for the trim to be completed so we can clean up the construction mess. I’m looking forward to being able to sit in front of the windows and take in God’s creation while I study.
When I study a new book, I like to look at the what historians know about the background so I have a better understanding of where the author is coming from. Then I group verses with similar ideas together and summarize them for myself, and finally I go back and look at how they may apply today. I may learn something new each time I go over a passage, so this devotional will in no way be comprehensive! I am not a Bible scholar or professor. I am just a daughter of God who loves His Word and am seeking His wisdom in living for Him. Lets ask God to show us what He wants to teach us in this chapter and get to work! Shall we compare notes?!? Please share your insights and musings in the comments so we can all learn from one another!
The book of 1 Thessalonians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica. Thessalonica was a busy seaport, an important communication and trade center, the largest city in Macedonia, and the capitol of its province. Paul was able to spend only a short time discipling the new believers there before he was forced to leave, suddenly, leaving them without outside support during a time of persecution. Paul wrote to encourage them, teach them Godly living, and give them assurance about their future. This book is 5 short chapters.
vs. 1–an introduction
vs. 2–Paul prayed thanks for the Thessalonian Church
vs. 3–specific thanks: work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope
vs. 4–Paul knew God chose them
vs. 5–the church didn’t receive the gospel by word only, but in power, in the Holy Spirit with FULL conviction!
vs. 6&7–they became imitators of Christ & Paul, AND they became an example for other believers. (1 Cor. 11:1)
vs. 8–they shared the gospel–everywhere they went, their faith sounded forth
vs. 9&10–other believers were talking about their faith (they had turned from idols, were serving a living & true God, and waiting for Jesus’s return).
As I read this chapter, I wondered if perhaps it was written like we write an English essay, with verse 3 being like an introductory sentence that the following verses unpack?
*Whether or not this was Paul’s intention, I can imagine that the work of faith Paul gives thanks for in verse 3 points forward to the Thessalonian Church “receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction” (vs.5). We know (vs. 4) that all Christians are chosen by God first, and that we need the Holy Spirit to give us faith to believe the gospel. Once we are saved, this faith grows and results in lives full of spiritual fruit.
*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks in verse 3 for their “labor of love,” that he could be referring to the way they became an example for other believers, and shared the gospel everywhere, sounding forth their faith (vs. 6-8)
*I can imagine that when Paul gave thanks for their steadfastness of hope, that he could be referring to the way they turned from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for Jesus’s return (vs.9&10)
How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?
- Give thanks for my church, being mindful that God has chosen them, and look for ways that God is specifically producing a work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope… For example: My home church enjoys meeting together, truth is taught, we pray together, discipleship happens, hospitality is practiced, etc… When my church ladies met to discuss this, they pointed out that Paul is not only praying thanks for the fruit He sees in the church in Thessalonica, He’s writing to tell them about it! He is encouraging them in the process. Hebrews 10:24 tells us to consider how we can spur each other on to good works—Imitating Paul’s action here is one of those ways!
- Pray for myself, my family, and the Church, that God’s word will always penetrate our hearts and minds in Power, in the Holy Spirit, and in full conviction (renew our minds and sanctify our hearts.)
- Pray that we will be imitators of Christ and live lives worthy of being imitated by others–an example for other believers. Godly examples help us learn what God’s word looks like in real time, and lets face it, some of us learn best by watching and doing.
- Pray that we will be thankful and enthusiastic–sharing with others what God has done and is doing in our lives. Our testimony is more than just sharing how we were saved. God is constantly working. Sound forth our faith!!
- Pray that we will have steadfastness of hope, remembering daily that we serve a living Savior who we are waiting to return!
- For the Lost: pray verse 5 (that they will become saved by receiving the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction… that they may also become verses 6 and following. Who in your life is in need of Jesus? Make a list, and mention them by name.
What did you learn from this chapter? I can’t wait to hear how God is moving in your life. And I can’t wait to see how God uses our prayers this week!
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
6 thoughts on “Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1”
This is study is rich with so much truth! I’m going to have to reread it to glean more. But thank you, thank you for sharing all that you are discovering with us! You have such keen insights. God bless you!
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Thank you! Please come back and share new insights God gives to you!! 🙂
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What hit me from this chapter in verse 5, was that we can pray for our unbelieving loved ones that “the gospel will come to them in power, and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction”. We know that it is only through the power of God that we can even come to the knowledge and understanding of His sacrifice and resurrection for our sins.
This is so true, Dawn! It’s beautiful to see how these chapters weave together to present a clear picture of how we can love and pray for one another! 😀