Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

Good morning!  Are you ready for a new week full of new blessings and fresh perspectives?

Every week God takes something we learned from the previous chapter and brings it to life for me, in some way or another.  In 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, we prayed that “God will guide us, that we will live as peacemakers, and grant to each of us the desire and the way of working to provide for ourselves and our families so that we will not be a burden, but can even afford to be generous with others.”

Before I had even published that devotional, we received a letter from a pastor we’ve known for many years, explaining how his congregation is struggling.  Though their building is payed for, their numbers have not grown enough to keep up with the expenses of ministry.  He asked for prayers, and that we might seek God’s guidance as to whether we can help them in any way.   What a privilege to be able to seek God’s will for their congregation, and we truly rejoice that we are able to help, even in some small way, to support them as they are waiting for what God will have them do next.

Also, (and this is a fun one) last week our Pastor taught some ways to share the gospel with others.  He stood right up front and asked, “When was the last time you prayed for boldness in sharing the gospel?”  

We started praying this in 1 Thessalonians 2:2!!!  It is crazy, amazing, wonderful to know God’s will for us, and such a privilege to be praying for His will to come to pass on earth as it is in heaven.  😀

Are these things happening to you???


Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians is rather full.  Paul continues his dialog concerning the return of Christ, and then he switches gears, giving the church directions on how to live Godly, blameless lives while they (and we) wait for that glorious day.

I used the New American Standard Bible, the Amplified Bible, and in my study this week.

Lets pray, and ask for wisdom before we begin.


My Notes:

vs. 1 & 2– Now (a continuation of Paul’s discussion about end times).  It seems the Thessalonian church has already been educated about Christ’s return.

vs. 2 &3– Those who have not been saved will feel safe, but will be taken by surprise by His return (like a thief in the night) and they will not escape destruction (judgement for their sin).

vs. 4-9– The church should be ‘sober and alert (cautiously watch lest we fall away), ready for Christ’s return since we are not destined for judgement but for salvation through Jesus’s death and resurrection.  Paul sort of introduced the analogy of the armor of God here in being ready.

vs. 10– So-whether we are alive, or have physically died before Christ’s return, we (the saved church) will all live together with Him.

vs. 11– (continue to) build up and encourage one another within the church.

vs. 12 & 13– Paul instructs the church to appreciate, and in love, respect its leaders and teachers for their work.

vs. 13– live in peace with one another and

  • vs. 14–admonish (seriously advise, warn) the unruly (disorderly–out of ranks, often of soldiers).
  • encourage the timid, fainthearted
  • help the weak (Proverbs 18:14~wounded spirit)
  • be patient with everyone (individually and collectively, always keeping your temper)
  • vs. 15–don’t repay evil for evil;
  • instead, earnestly endeavor to show kindness and seek to do good to each other and everyone
  • vs. 16–Rejoice always (be happy in your faith and glad-hearted)
  • vs. 17– Pray without ceasing (persevere in prayer)
  • vs. 18– in everything (all circumstances) give thanks; for this is God’s will for you
  • vs. 19– Do not quench (subdue) the Spirit of God;
  • vs. 20– Do not despise prophetic utterances (prophetic revelations, inspired instruction or warning, and perhaps even the Bible?)
  • vs. 21– Instead, examine everything carefully (test everything— no God inspired instruction will ever contradict His Word, the Bible)
  • Hold fast to what is good;
  • vs. 22– Abstain from every form of evil (shrink away from it)
  • vs. 23– May God completely sanctify/set apart/purify/consecrate you so that you may be preserved and found blameless (spirit, soul and body) at the return of Jesus.
  • vs. 24– God is trustworthy and will fulfill His call on your life doing this (vs. 23).

vs. 25 & 26– Paul asked the church to pray for the apostles and greet the brethren for them.

vs. 27– They were to make sure Paul’s letter was read out loud before all the brethren.  They didn’t have Bibles.   (Their letter is part of our Bible!!)  It was important that they all hear this letter in order to receive encouragement and instruction.

vs. 28– was Paul’s closing and blessing.


I am so thankful to have gone through the study, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit, before getting to this chapter.  Better understanding of these Christ-like characteristics made Paul’s instructions for Godly living much more meaningful.  I put links to each “fruit” devotional as I see them applied in this context, so you can go back and read through them if you like.

When reading verse 23, where Paul talks about being preserved in spirit, soul, and body, I really wanted to understand more fully what this meant. (Yes, I am a Bible geek.  I know.) 😛

Body– is just our body.  We want to keep it holy by abstaining from sinful practices.

Spirit– is the power by which we know, desire, decide or act…

Soul– is the seat of our feelings, desires, affections, aversions.  Different than the body; not dissolved by death.  This is the same word Jesus used in Matthew when he said to love God with all your soul.

All these parts of our being, God wants to preserve as blameless until his return.


“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

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?


vs. 1-3– continue to pray for the lost, that they will be saved and ready for the Day of our Lord!

vs. 4-10– Thank God for our salvation, and ask Him for perseverance and faithfulness to watch for and be ready for Christ’s return.

 In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

vs. 11–Continue to pray for grace to build up and encourage one another within the body of Christ.

vs. 12,13– Ask God to work in our hearts, and give us the loving appreciation and respect that He desires for us to have for our church leaders and teachers.

vs. 13– Pray that we (the Church) will live in peace with one another (as we began praying in chapter 4, verse 11), AND:

That God will give us wisdom and boldness to…

vs. 14– admonish brothers who are out of order, and not living Godly lives,

Give us discernment how to best…

–encourage the faint-hearted, and support the weak and wounded in spirit.

Pray that God will supernaturally enable us to…

–be patient with everyone, individually and collectively (the whole church)

vs. 15– Pray that we will earnestly endeavor to show kindness and do good to everyone, never seeking revenge.

“So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper];” Colossians 3:12

Pray that God will…

vs. 16– enable us to be happy in our faith and rejoice always

vs. 17, 18– strengthen us to persevere in prayer and give thanks in every circumstance.

vs. 19– Give us hearts that are tender toward God’s will, and never subdue the Holy Spirit who works within us,

vs. 20–and love God’s word and His correction,

vs. 21– give us discernment, as we examine everything, to know what is good and true, and what is not from God.  Help us hold fast to what is good!

vs. 22–Pray for wisdom and self control to shrink away from evil.

vs. 23– Thank God for His faithfulness in setting us apart and keeping us holy in spirit, soul, and body–blameless for Christ’s return.

vs. 27– Pray that God’s word will continue to be proclaimed (in our homes, churches and the world) and accomplish His will.


Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2

Happy Monday, Friends!  I’m so glad you can join me again. 🙂  Have you been digging into 1 Thessalonians to see what God has to show us?

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

This chapter really includes a LOT of history.  The apostle Paul was one of those super smart people who sometimes talks in circles before getting to the crux of his message.  I had to read through this chapter several times, and you’ll notice that I have grouped some of the verses out of order to make more sense for my own study.

I am not a Bible Scholar or theologian.  I’m just a child of God who loves His Word, and I desire to understand His will.  In John 16:13, Jesus tells us the the Spirit of Truth (God’s Holy Spirit) guides us into all truth!  I do hope you’ll share with me what God revealed to you in your study–we can learn from each other!  Let’s pray for understanding.


My Notes:

vs. 2– Some background: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (apostles) came to the Thessalonians from Philippi.  They had suffered shameful treatment there, but were still bold to speak the gospel in Thessalonica (where they also experienced “oppression”–they were accused of civil treason {Acts 17:7})

vs.1–This was not in vain (because the Thessalonians ultimately embraced the gospel)

vs. 3– Paul seems to feel the need to support his qualifications and the integrity of their ministry to them.  He stated that their ministry 1) did not come from error, 2) did not come from impurity, 3) did not come from deceit.

vs. 5– While ministering to the Thessalonians, the apostles 1) didn’t smooth talk or flatter, 2) their ministry was not a front for personal profit (not greed driven), 3) did not seek personal glory from anyone


vs.4–The apostles were 1) approved by God, to share the gospel, 2) taught the gospel to please God (not men) as they answered to Him.  And,

vs.7–They were 1) gentle (kind) among the Thessalonians (cherishing them like a nursing mother cherishes her baby) and  2) very willing to give the gospel to them even if it cost them their lives to do so.  Why? Because the Thessalonians had become “very dear” (beloved) to them.

vs.9–The apostles worked to support themselves while they were among the Thessalonians.  (The Philippian church also sent support to them. {Philippians 4:16}  Paul later wrote to them and told them how much this meant to him.)  This supported Paul’s claim that he didn’t minister to them for personal gain.

vs.10–The apostles behaved blamelessly among them.

vs.11-12–They had exhorted (strongly encouraged/invited) them, imploring them “like a father would his children” to live worthy of God who “calls you into His own kingdom and glory”

vs.13–So then (as a result of this): the apostles constantly thank God that the Thessalonians responded to the gospel, accepting it as God’s own word, and they were saved! 🙂

vs.14,15–The Thessalonians became imitators of the churches in Judea who were persecuted by the Jews for following Christ.  The price?  The Thessalonians were also persecuted by their countrymen.

vs.16–The unbelieving Jews wanted to stop the gospel from being dispersed.  God’s judgement will come upon them.

vs. 17,18–Paul was grieved that he had been forced to leave the church in Thessalonica prematurely.  He wanted to visit them again, but had been prevented.  He said he was with them in spirit.  Interestingly, if Paul had not had to leave them, we would not have his letters to this church.  We have to believe this was all part of God’s plan to give His inspired Word to the WHOLE Church Body.  (Thanks to Miriam for pointing this out!)

vs.19, 20–Paul calls the Thessalonian Church his glory and joy~a crown of exultation.  They were his spiritual children.  He was proud of them and took great joy in their salvation.


Paul and his fellow apostles give us a tremendous example of the kind of attitude and motivation we should have in sharing the gospel with others, and also gives us clues to identify false prophets (vs. 3,5).  He shows us that even when we are not the ones “sent,” we can and should be part of supporting the sounding forth of the gospel in other places.  Lastly, in Paul’s example, I see that those we disciple need our continual prayers as well as our candid and sincere encouragement and admonishment to remain strong in the Lord, whatever the cost.

On a different note, in reading the ways in which the apostles regarded the Thessalonians as a mother and father would: tenderly cherishing and strongly encouraging and exhorting them, I am reminded of how I as a parent should be discipling my children on a daily basis.


“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

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

* vs.2–Pray for my church leaders, for those on the mission field, the Church Body and for myself, that we will always be bold to share the gospel, even when oppression, persecution, or personal loss are a possibility.

*vs.1–Pray for those God has entrusted to go out and preach the gospel, that their labor will not be in vain.  Scripture says God’s word will not return void, but will accomplish what He pleases.  Isaiah 55:11

*God has qualified every believer to share the gospel.  Thank Him, and pray that we, and our church leaders, will never minister from a place of greed or a desire for personal glory.  Instead, give us integrity, truthfulness, and the motivation to please only God, who examines our hearts.

*vs. 6,11,12–Pray for our church leaders and teachers, that they will love people as a parent loves a child, deeply and tenderly, and admonish them/us to live worthy of God!  Are you a parent or grandparent, teacher or mentor, spouse or friend?  We need this prayer too!  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

*vs. 9–Pray for the support and provision of those who serve in full time ministry, and thank Him! 🙂  (and then act if you are in a position to do so).  Fundraising for missionary support and for Christian non-profits is hard work (and scary for many).  It takes a great deal of time away from actual ministry.  I live in an area with many small, struggling churches who cannot adequately pay their pastors, so these men work full-time while preaching and fulfilling as many of the responsibilities of a full time pastor as possible.  As Paul shared, it is a hardship!  Church growth is slow when this happens, and pastors burn out before their time.  They can’t do it all!  They need support.

*vs. 10–Pray that we will walk blamelessly (living by the Spirit) and so not tarnish our testimony.

*vs.13-15, 19-20–we are reminded to continue to pray as we learned in chapter one, that the lost will accept the gospel as God’s word, in the Holy Spirit, in Power and FULL conviction.   Rejoice over those God is adding to His kingdom!

*vs. 17,18–Pray for the church in other areas.  Many of our brothers and sisters are suffering and in need.  We can be with them in Spirit (as well as supporting church work in their area), and ask God to teach them, strengthen them, and empower them according to His will.

When I had the privilege of discussing Thessalonians with my church sisters, those working in secular fields shared how even though they strive to walk blamelessly, they know they mess up, and sometimes experience concern that they may damage their testimony.  Yet time and time again, God continues to use them and allow them to be a light of influence in dark places.

Do you ever feel this way?  Praise God for grace.  He isn’t finished working in us yet!  My friend Lynn over at Through Ink & Image created a beautiful short video to illustrate this truth. 🙂  I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to go watch it!  It is worth your time!

Did you miss our study on 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1?  You can find it HERE! 🙂

Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

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.

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

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

1 Thessalonians, chapter 2

1 Thessalonians, chapter 3

1 Thessalonians, chapter 4

1 Thessalonians, chapter 5