Today I was impressed by Paul’s simple prayer for the Thessalonians. He prays in a way that keeps the focus on the core of the Christian faith. In 2 Thes. 3:5 Paul says, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
The word “direct” means “clear away the obstacles.” How appropriate! Paul was wise enough to know the importance of keeping the readers focused on the love of God. For the readers to be able to carry out the instructions of Paul, they would need to be convinced of God’s love for them. This truth would bring strength to their souls and give them the convictions needed to live out a life of faithfulness in the midst of trials and persecution.
In addition to clearing away the obstacles for the readers to focus on God’s love for them, Paul also prays in the same way for them to directed toward the “steadfastness of Christ.” This is either a reference to the example of Christ’s endurance through trials or Christ’s enabling as they go through trials. Both, of course, are true. You and I should be challenged and encouraged by the constant faithfulness of Christ as he followed God’s will regardless of the personal cost. We also should remember that only through the enabling of the Holy Spirit can we be faithful.
Father, thank you for Paul’s prayer. May you clear away any obstacles that would keep my heart from being encouraged by your love. May you also clear away any obstacles that hinder me from being encouraged and challenged by Christ’s endurance and faithfulness to your will. May you enable me to live a life of faithful endurance in spite of my circumstances.
Following Jesus with you,