Considering Some Prayer Request
2 Thes 3:1-5
|1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5 And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. NAS||1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. KJV|
Have you ever made or heard someone make a list of things a Christian might do? This list would include prayer but prayer would almost be listed an after thought? Then someone would say we should have prayer first. Everyone agrees but the list maker just didn't put it first.
In the text Paul puts prayer first. In the GREEK the word pray is in
the emphatic position; and is in the present tense so it could be translated
continue to pray for us. He request prayer. For what does Paul
request prayer. I am glad you ask and I will emphasize 4 areas of prayer
concerns from this text.
1. Considering A Prayer Request Related to the . . Word of God. v 1
A. Pray Related to the . . Growing of the Word
of God. v 1 a
"Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly. . . "
Ps 147:15 He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. NAS
2 Tim 2:9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. NAS
B. Pray Related to the . . Glorifying . . of the
Word of God. v 1 b
". . . and be glorified, . . . " just as it did also with you; . . . "
C. Pray Related to the . . Guarantee . . of the
Word of God. v 1 c
". . . just as it did also with you; . . . "
Throughout their history, the Gideons have received letters from people who found and read a Gideon-placed Bible. Here is one such letter from mid-century. The writer went on to become "First Mate Bob" on the long-time religious radio show "Haven of Rest":
One winter morning in San Diego, after I had wandered many miles along the waterfront, in a daze, I turned my steps wearily toward my hotel room. I had been drinking heavily for weeks. My mind was tortured by the thoughts of the wife and four children whom I had deserted. Just yesterday, it seemed,
I had been a radio executive, in charge of two radio stations in Los Angeles--KFVD and KFAC. The home in which we lived, Beverly Hills, the cars, the servants--the things money and social position can provide for a man and his family--were just a memory. I had dragged my family down with me until they were living in a little hovel, and then, I had deserted them. I had suffered a complete nervous breakdown and, worst of all, I had completely lost my voice. For a year and a half, I had not been able to speak one word aloud, each effort to talk was just a whisper. The future held no promise.
I opened the door of my hotel room and flung myself into a chair in utter despair. My gaze fell upon a (Gideon) Bible on the floor. In a distracted sort of way, I picked it up and started to read. Old familiar words I had learned as a child, words of life, quick and powerful, leaped out of those pages and found their way into my heart.
I fell to my knees, and spread the Bible upon the chair, and made a vow that I would not leave that hotel room, if I died of starvation, until there came into my soul a knowledge that my sins had been forgiven, until I knew that I passed from death unto life. With a surge of joy, I realized that God's promises were even for men like me.
In that hotel room, I found Calvary's Cross; there I laid my burden
down; there, the old man died, and a new one was born. From that place
I walked in newness of life, a new creature in Christ Jesus, praise
God straightened things out between my wife and me, and today she and I and our four children are back together again. The "peace that passeth all understanding" has loosed the taut nerves and muscles which had prevented normal speech, and God gave me back my voice.
Small wonder that there is in my heart a feeling of undying gratitude to the Gideons who have felt the burden to place Bibles in hotel rooms. Citation: Paul Myers, "Down and Out from Beverly Hills: One man's encounter with a Gideon Bible," in "The Golden Age of Hymns," Christian History, no. 31
Isa 55:11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. NAS
Considering A Prayer Request Related to the . . Word of God.
2. Considering A Prayer Request Related To the . . Ways of Evil Men. v 2
A. Pray Related to the Ways of . . Filthy Men.
v 2 a
"and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; "
On one occasion I worked in an engineering office with a man who had a very filthy mouth. One day we were working together and at lunch time I asked him "does your food taste dirty?" He ask "no why would you ask that?" I said "because you have such a filthy mouth I don't see how it doesn't effect your food."
B. Pray Related to the Ways of . . Faithless Men.
v 2 b
". . . for not all have faith."
Illustration When Compassion Is Absent
A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer asked, "What's with these guys? We have been waiting for 15 minutes." The doctor agreed: "I've never seen such slow golfers."
The pastor noted, "Hey, here comes the groundskeeper. Let's have a word with him." The pastor called out to the groundskeeper, "Say, George, what's with the group ahead of us?" George said, "That's a group of blind fire-fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."
The group was silent for a moment. The pastor sympathized, "That's so sad. I think I'll say a special prayer for them tonight. The doctor added, "That's a good idea. In fact, I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if we can do anything for these guys." Then the engineer spoke up: "Well that's great, but in the meantime, why can't these guys play at night?"
Of the three men who do you think was not a Christian?
Considering A Prayer Request Related To the . . Ways of Evil Men.
3. Considering A Prayer Request Related to the . . Ways of God. v 3
A. Pray Knowing the Lord's Way Is A .. Faithful
v 3 a "But the Lord is faithful, . . . "
Surprise! This is the only time in the Bible this phrase appears. ". . . the Lord is faithful, . . . "
The phrase "God is faithful" appears 3 times.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. NAS
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. NAS
2 Corinthians 1:18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. NAS
The Lord Our God is faithful even if it said it only once.
B. Pray Knowing the Lord's Way Is A . . Fortifying
Way. v 3 b
". . . and He will strengthen . . . "
C. Pray Knowing the Lord's Way Is A. . Fortress
Way. v 3 c
". . . and protect you from the evil one."
An interesting study can be made from the two GREEK words translated "guard" It is helpful to my sermon points here.
NT:5083 tereo (tay-reh'-o); from teros (a watch; perhaps akin
to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from . . . and from NT:2892, koustodia which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus),
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994,
We sing the Song: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blizzard. She never reached her destination and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow.
But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother love.
Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and, without doubt, one of England's greatest statesman. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, Tyndale, 1972, p. 375
Ps 71:3 Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come; Thou hast given commandment to save me,
For Thou art my rock and my fortress. NAS
A Faithful Mother is like Our Faithful God.
Considering A Prayer Request Related to the . . Ways of God.
4. Considering A Prayer Request Related to the . . Works of God's People. v 4-5
A. Pray Related to . . Confidence In the Work of
God's People. v 4 a
" And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, . . . "
B. Pray Related to the . . Continuance . . Of the
Work of God's People. v 4 b
". . . that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.
3853 paraggello (par-ang-gel'-lo);
from 3844 and the base of 32; to transmit a message, i.e. (by implication) to enjoin: KJV-- (give in) charge, (give) command.
This word Command found in these verses also: 2 TH. 3:6, 3:10,
C.. Pray Related to The . . Course . . Of the Work
of God's People. v 5
And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness
Course is in the Love of God.
2. The Course is in the Steadfastness of Christ.
Illustration Steadfastness Mushrooms from Heaven
In 1880, a Christian couple, George and Sarah Clarke, purchased the lease for the Pacific Beer Garden. Promptly dropping the word Beer, the couple added the word Mission, and launched a ministry to homeless alcoholics and downtrodden men and women. Thus was born the Pacific Garden Mission of Chicago--the Old Lighthouse--the second oldest rescue mission in the United States.
Colonel and Mrs. Clarke bore the cost of the mission themselves, but as expenses grew and the ministry expanded, their funds ran low. Eventually the day came when they could not pay the rent. Attempts to secure the needed funds failed, and Colonel Clarke was told he had only 24 hours to make the payment. Otherwise, he would lose his lease, and the Pacific Garden Mission would close.
Throughout the night, Colonel and Mrs. Clarke prayed, asking God to guide and to provide in his own way and time. They reminded the Lord of the souls being saved each night, of the men and women whose lives were being salvaged. They asked him why they should find themselves in such straits while trying to do his work. But, determining to trust and not question, they remained before the throne of grace in simple faith and in earnest pleading until the breaking of dawn.
When they emerged from their Morgan Park house that morning, they gasped. What had happened to their front yard? It was covered with some-thing white, something that instantly reminded them of the manna of the Old Testament. Looking closer, they discovered their lawn was filled with mush-rooms of the very best quality, which was quite mysterious because it wasn't the season for mushrooms. Gathering the crop, the Clarkes carted the mush-rooms down the street and sold them to the chefs at the Palmer House, the famed hotel just off of Michigan Avenue, for a large price. The receipts were enough to pay the rent, with enough left over to meet other ministry expenses.
So, the Pacific Garden Mission carried on, its work undeterred. Citation: Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris, I've Just Seen Jesus (J. Countryman Books, fortcoming), pp. 4-5
Considering Prayer Request Related to the . .
Word of God.
Ways of Evil Men.
Ways of God.
Works of God's People.