THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Key Bible Verse: Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you. (2 Thessalonians 3:1, NRSV)
Dig Deeper: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-4
When praying specific prayers geared to expand God’s kingdom, I have observed that it helps to frame the specific requests in terms of God empowering believers to achieve his mission, rather than praying for God to change the hearts of unbelievers. I’ve seen far more answers when asking God to send believers to go out into the harvest field than when I’ve asked God to cause unbelievers to come to faith.
I believe Jesus modelled this approach to prayer. When he saw the harassed and helpless crowds around him, he encouraged the disciples to pray for workers: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:38, NIV). He did not encourage them to pray, “God, cause these people to follow me.”
Likewise [in today’s Key Bible Verse], Paul asked that people [pray for him and those with him so] that the message would spread. Notice that Paul wasn’t asking for people to come to Christ, as we might expect.
There are exceptions to this scriptural pattern [such as Acts 26:29 and Rom. 10:1]. But the main examples in Scripture lead us to pray for believers to grow in faith and ability [to share the gospel] rather than for unbelievers to respond.
– Greg Pruett in Extreme Prayer
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