In the book of 2 Thessalonians, Paul is helping some new believers to understand that though the end of all things might be near, there is still some important work to accomplish. The first portion of his letter (1:1-10) is spent reminding them that on the day that Jesus returns, He will bring judgment with Him. But then, in verses 11-12, Paul offers a prayer that would help guide their thinking about life. His prayer gives us two great priorities in prayer.
In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our primary prayer must be for Jesus to be glorified.
Because Jesus is the most important Person, He deserves our primary attention and activity. Everything that we do must be for the greatness of God to be known to everyone. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As normal humans, we need constant reminding that we’re not the center of the universe. As Christians, we are not exempt from the worldly tug on our egos. As the church members, we must never give in to any thinking that we are the focus of everyone else’s ministry. The church does not exist for you. You are the church existing for the glory of God among the nations.
Our next prayer is for God’s people to have holy and empowered lives for the good work of the gospel.
Only God can make us worthy and empower us for a life that glorifies Him. On the other side, only glorifying God will give our lives meaning and joy. We are called to lives that are holy — which is so much more than just making superior ethical choices. A holy life is one that is dedicated to living according to the will and the ways of God. When allow the Holy Spirit to fill you, then you will operate in God’s power for a life that glorifies Him while working with Him. And what is the work of God? To redeem people. It means that the work of God’s people is to persuade people to surrender to God’s redeeming work. It is why Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” Our lives are to be consistently focused on glorifying God through our evangelistic work and maturing in the faith.
As you press into the first days of 2018, I hope that it will be with the focus on God’s glory and a dedication to God’s mission.