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 4

Good morning, Friend.  I hope you had a good sabbath and are ready for what this week holds.

Last week was a long week for me because my hubby took the camp interns out of town for 3 days, and they went on a tour of several other camps.  This is so much fun because they get to explore God’s creativity in other places, network with other camps, look at the differences and similarities in how other camps are organized and facilitate ministry in their location, and so much more.  This has become an annual event, and they always come back with inspiration.  Plus, the fellowship among our own staff while they travel is great.  I miss him when he’s gone.

Meanwhile, the kids and I kept with our school schedule, and the kids also did a lot of playing outside in all the new snow.  We had so much Sunday night and Monday, preceded by rain and sleet, that all the schools shut down and many events were cancelled.  It was a winter-wonderland.

Have you been witnessing God move in your heart and your local Church Body?

Last Sunday one of our teens was preparing to leave for the Philippines and our elders and leaders prayed over her during the service.  Get a load of this little guy?  He so sweetly wanted to be a part.  Eventually he scooted over and held onto someone’s sweater.



This morning I received word about a brand new believer!  And the request that I be praying for her.  Praise God, He uses our prayers! 🙂

Well, have you taken time to read 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 3 and listen for God’s will?  This chapter ran me through the full spectrum of emotions, I think.  It even moved me to tears…. happy tears.

Like I always say, I’m not an expert.  This is just my “home-schooled” Bible study, but God is a great tour guide when we get into His Word.  My study companions were the NASV and the Amplified Version,, and the IVP Bible Background Commentary for the New Testament.

Shall we pray for wisdom before we dig in?

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

My Notes:

vs. 1 & 2–The Thessalonian church has been following the instructions the apostles gave them concerning Godly living, and Paul says they should do so even more.

vs. 3–It was God’s will that they (and we) be set apart/consecrated/sanctified for holy living, and abstain from sexual sin.

vs. 4 & 5–Their bodies were not to be used for lustful passion, but they should know how to be self controlled (in purity and honor).

vs. 6–No man was to “transgress and defraud his brother” in this matter (sexual sin).  Well, I had to ask what, exactly, did Paul mean by this?  The IVP Bible Background Commentary teaches that Paul was referring to committing adultery with another man’s wife.  Makes sense.  It’s a good reminder that sexual sin not only harms us, but the one we sin with, and others as well).

vs. 7– Again, God called them (and us) to be sanctified/pure/set apart to be holy, just as God is holy.

vs. 8–When we reject God’s will, we reject His Holy Spirit ( whose business it is to be doing the sanctifying in us!)

Now Paul changes gears.

vs. 9 & 10– Grow and excel more and more in loving other believers.

vs. 11– Their goal (and ours) should be to live a peaceful life, mind their own business, and work with their own hands.  My study bible says that Greeks looked down on manual labor, and those who weren’t rich often adopted a habit of begging.

vs. 12–Why do these things?  So they would behave properly toward outsiders  and not be in need… (Paul promotes manual labor again in Eph. 4:28 for the purpose that they will not be in need, but also so they would have extra to give to others in need.  There’s that concept of giving again.)

vs. 13– Paul wants the Thessalonian church to understand what happens when believers die so they will not grieve like those who have no hope (they come from a culture devoid of hope).

vs. 14 & 15– Those who are alive when Christ returns will have no advantage over those who died before.  God will bring those who have already died to Himself through the work Jesus did in his death and resurrection (He conquered sin and death!!).

vs. 16– What do we have to look forward to?  Jesus will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, the shout of the archangel and the blast of the trumpet of God.  Those who have already died will rise.  *Chills*

vs. 17–Then those who are living will be caught up with the resurrected dead to meet Jesus in the air, and we will ALL be with Him for eternity!  *Cheers!*

vs. 18– Comfort and encourage each other with these words (this hope!). *Happy Tears*


“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. 1,2 3, & 7– Thank God for setting us apart and ask Him to continue to empower us to live holy lives for him, and specifically that the church will abstain from sexual sin.  Sexual sin was rampant in Paul’s day.  Prostitution was common.  All this time later, sex trafficking has exploded in our day.  Sometimes, even church attenders are confused about what is right and wrong as far as sexuality.   Unfortunately, there are other times that wrong choices are made, and instead of repentance, excuses are made.   It should not be this way.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  God doesn’t want us to cover up our sin.  He wants us to confess it so He can cover it.   “For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”            2 Peter 1:3

*vs. 4 & 5–Pray that God will teach us and empower us how to be self controlled in purity and honor.  And then consciously submit to God’s Spirit since self control is a fruit of the Spirit.

*vs. 9 & 10– Pray that we will consistently grow and excel, always, in loving other believers.  These people are our family and will be our neighbors (forever) when we get to heaven.  😉


*vs. 11 & 12– Pray 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.

*vs. 13-18– Praise God for giving us a future hope through Jesus, and for telling how we can look forward to His return with great expectation.  He’s coming back for us, and we get to spend ETERNITY with Him!  Pray for the lost, by name if you can, that they may share with us in this hope.

How did God speak to you in this chapter?  I can’t wait to hear your insights.


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Praying God’s Will; 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 3

Gods will 1 Thessalonians

Have you had a refreshing weekend and are you ready for the blessings of a new week?  I hope so!  My hubby was off work this weekend (in camp ministry, weekends are often work days).  He has been working on the trim in the sun room so it is so much closer to being usable!

For the past month, our church elders have been giving their testimonies of how God has and is working in their lives.  The congregation has been encouraged to look deep and so last Sunday individuals took turns sharing.  It was a holy time, and I was suddenly struck by how our congregation was fulfilling 1 Thessalonians 1–talking about how God redeemed each life, and how God is working in our circumstances today; we were sounding forth our faith!

While I know that the congregation’s leaders had this planned even before we began this study of the Thessalonians, because of learning to pray God’s will in these chapters, I was able to recognize how God is working and give praise!  It was the highlight of my week!

Are you ready to look into chapter 3 with me?  I’m not a Bible Scholar or Theologian.  I’m a “home-schooled” student of God’s Word.  I used the ESV, NASV, Amplified Version and the study tools at in my study of this chapter.

Let’s pray for understanding!  I can’t wait to learn how God spoke to you through this chapter!


thess, ch 3

My Notes: (I really do study with a spiral notebook!)

vs.1 & 2– Therefore: because Paul and his Fellow apostles desired so strongly to see the Thessalonian church again. (This is a continuation of chapter 2)

Paul and Silas stayed in Athens so that Timothy could return to Thessalonica.

vs. 2 & 3– Purpose of Timothy’s visit:  1) To strengthen and encourage them in their faith 2) so that none of them would be disturbed (saino~disturbed, moved {the mind of one}, agitate, trouble, unsettle, be shaken) by “these afflictions” (that the apostles were encountering).  The whole chapter is really anchored in Paul’s concerns here.

vs.4– The apostles had tried to prepare them in advance, warning them that they (the apostles) would encounter persecution.  We know from from chapter 2 that the Thessalonian Church was also undergoing persecution from their countrymen.

vs. 5–Paul was concerned because Satan had prevented him from being with them (ch.2 verse 18), and would try to test them.  This reminds me of Jesus’s parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13.  Paul wanted to be sure that the gospel would not be choked out by worries and distractions, but that they would continue to grow in Christ and have spiritually fruitful lives.

vs. 6&7–Timothy returned to Paul with good news, which comforted and encouraged the apostles, despite their difficult circumstances.  What was this news: 1) The Thessalonian church was standing steadfast in their faith (unwavering in their trust in God), and 2) they missed the apostles as much as the apostles missed them! 🙂

vs.8–Their faithfulness made all the apostles had been through worth the cost.

vs.9– The apostles continued to give thanks for the Thessalonian church

vs.10– and continued to pray for them.  The opportunity to finish discipling them is Paul’s concern.

vs.11–Paul trusts God to bring them together again for this purpose,

vs.12&13– and then in the spirit of verses 2 & 3, Paul prays for them, that: 1) God will cause them to increase and overflow with love for one another and for all people, 2) so that HE may strengthen and establish their hearts to be without blame at the coming of Christ. 


Personal thoughts:

I am struck by Paul’s concern that the Thessaonians have the opportunity to be discipled so that they can grow to maturity in Christ, and not be discouraged.  It is just killing him that he can’t get back to them.

I love the example Paul sets for us.  He expresses his concern, but then when there is nothing further he can personally do, he ultimately places the burden for producing growth in the Thessalonian church precisely where it belongs–square on the shoulders of God.  Not only that, but he prays specifically for them, believing that God will answer his prayers in time.

In camp ministry, every year we see many young people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and what He did for them on the cross.  It is amazing to be able to witness their salvation, but after camp is finished and they go home?  Then what?  It is an utmost priority to work and pray for opportunities to connect these young people to churches in their home towns so that they can be discipled, grow in love for all people, and become active members of the church body.

In our age, so many are trying to “do church” on their own because for whatever reason,  but Paul makes it clear that God created the Church Body to be a live, growing, interdependent entity.  We need God, but we also need one another–you need the Church AND the Church needs you.


“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.4 & 5– Pray that we (the Church) will be prepared for the difficulties that God knows we will encounter, and that our faith will never be shaken by trials.

* vs.10–Pray that we will be concerned for younger ** Christians and have opportunity to disciple/mentor them, give thanks to God for them, and pray for them!  **(younger in the length of time they have walked with Jesus and/or younger in their level of maturity~sometimes older Christians need to be discipled by someone more mature, though not necessarily older in age.)

*vs.12–Pray that God will cause all of us to increase and overflow with love for one another and for all people (Jesus said the world will know us by our love!)

*vs.2, 3, & 12– Pray that God will continue to strengthen, encourage, comfort, and establish our faith and our hearts to be without blame at the coming of Christ.  He can return any day!  In what condition will he find our hearts?  Let us stand firm in faith.  Let us live for Him, one day at a time.

How did God speak to you in this chapter?  

I invite you to join me every Monday to pray God’s will.  If you would like to be notified when a new post is ready, please subscribe to follow Growing Grace-Full, and you will receive an email when each post is available! ♥

1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2