Pray for the Persecuted

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (I Thess. 3:11-13)

1. He prayed for maturing faith (v. 10) Paul wanted to “complete what was lacking in their faith.” Their love for Christ was evident and their faith was growing. But they were still infant Christians and still had much to learn. So Paul prayed that God would give them wisdom to face their future.

2. He prayed for open doors (v. 11) “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you.” Paul knew if he returned to Thessalonica that God would have to make it happen. Only God can make the impossible possible!

3. He prayed for increasing love (v. 12) “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” Paul prayed that their love for each other would be so evident that it would splash over into others. We must love one another, and “everyone else.”

4. He prayed for holy lives (v. 13) “So that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” We’re to pray that believers would live holy lives, that they would be blameless when persecution is the norm. So he reminds us that the second coming of Christ should have a purifying affect on our lives. (Helpful Commentaries: Exploring I & II Thessalonians, by John Phillips; and Exalting Christ in I and II Thessalonians, by Mark Howell)

Paul encouraged the young Christians at Thessalonica to stand fast in the midst of persecution and suffering. He prayed earnestly – “We pray most earnestly” (v. 10). Paul went above and beyond all normal measures in his prayer for the believers at Thessalonica. He prayed frequently – “Night and day we pray…” (v. 10). In other words, pray in the morning, pray in the afternoon, pray in the evening, and even in the middle of the night. He also prayed specifically (v. 11-13). How did Paul pray specifically for them?

Let me share some specific ways you can pray for believers who are being persecuted around the world today.

  • Pray for Christians who have been beaten and tortured, that they may be healed and able to forgive their tormentors (Acts 7:60).
  • Pray for imprisoned Christians to be comforted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-15).
  • Pray for the provision of Bibles (Psalm 119:105-112).
  • Pray for Christians who have lost homes, farms, food, water and income, that God will meet
  • their every need and ease their anxiety (Matt. 6:32-34; 19:29).
  • Pray that Christians in restricted areas will support each other and band together (I Pet. 4:7-19).
  • Pray that God would raise up godly leaders (I Peter 5:1-4).
  • Pray that God would deliver nations from spiritual bondage (Eph. 6:10-18).
  • Pray that the gospel would be proclaimed boldly and that people would come to saving faith (Eph. 6:19-20).

Pastor Derek