Approaching God’s throne of grace
But As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 NIV
Once again from the text, Paul reminded Christians in Thessalonica that persecutions are inevitable. Paul is aware that he, too, is to undergo persecution, and he asks for their prayers for him, also. Such requests were frequently asked by Paul to places where Christianity had spread during his ministry (Romans 15:30–32; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 1:19; Colossians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:25). In almost every one of these requests, he prayed for the spread of the gospel and his part in it. He is quite aware of the impact that the prayers of the churches can offer for him and his own ministry of evangelism among the Gentiles. In this particular case in the text, the object of prayer is quite specific. He wants them to pray for the spread of the gospel and its following reception. But he also wants their prayers for his deliverance from adversaries. He has come through some difficult and discouraging times since he arrived in the European continent and needs the support and prayers of these Christian friends. Paul continues with assurance that God will be faithful to help the Thessalonians through their difficulties. God promises strength in the midst of trials and persecutions. In this way, believers can have the confidence to continue to live lives that glorifies God. This is why Paul told the Thessalonians that they will live in the right way. “We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command” (2 Thessalonians 3:4). The confidence is necessary because they are “in the Lord”; they do not have to rely on their own resources. This is the reason why we can come and be confident that we have an access to the power of the Lord to accomplish His admonitions. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Just like Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Thessalonica, we too need to “direct our [your] hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). We need these both in order to respond positively to God’s commands.