5. The Progress of the Word of the Lord
Pray for God’s Word to Progress Rapidly.
“1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
I. Pray for the Gospel to Make Progress
II. Pray for Paul to Make Progress
III. Pray for the Church to Make Progress
Quick Thought: “Prayer and the Progress of the Gospel”
According to Luke in Acts, it is not only the ministry of the word that is the task of gospel workers. Prayer is also our task. In Acts 6, there is a problem in the Jerusalem church regarding care for the Greek-speaking widows. The apostles recognized the core issue and took steps to deal with it. They refused to be distracted from their central task, which was prayer and the ministry of the word (verse 4), and the result is the Gospel spread.
At its most basic, prayer is an expression of our utter dependency upon God, but it is also a privilege that flows out of our relationship with him, and so it too grows out of our love for him. There is a direct correlation between our love for God and our willingness to pray — or our willingness to read his word, or our willingness to witness — and the effectiveness of our witness.
Life Group Questions
Describe situations where you have seen examples of rapid progress – perhaps an individual, company, sports team. How may these situations illustrate what Paul is longing for in 3:1?
Review of the Text
- What would an answer to prayer of 3:1 look like in practice?
- Why do you think Paul also thought that the prayer contained in 3:2 was necessary?
- What attributes of the Lord undergird these requests and why are they so helpful? (see 3:3-5)
- How do you think verse 4 would have been received by the Thessalonians church?
- Do you think ‘Christ’s perseverance’ means the perseverance which Christ provides, the example set by Christ’s perseverance, or both?
- If Paul’s first task in this letter is to address the problem of 3:6, why do you think he started the chapter the way he did?
Apply the Text
- How does Acts 13:48, 49 amplify what Paul is longing for in 3:1?
- How should the prayer of 3:1 shape the priorities fo the local church?
- In what ways do you think we are in the sort of spiritual battle described in 3:2,3?
- What do you think, ‘direct you r hearts into God’s love’ means, bearing in mind what Paul had already said in 2:13-14 and why hight we need to pray for this today?
- Pray for the Word of the Lord to speed rapidly and be honoured in your own situation.
- In what ways do you need to keep going and not give up in your own Christian life?