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First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians 3: 9-13 (NIV)
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
The Apostle Paul spoke and wrote often about the return of the Lord Jesus. Paul may have expected that the return of the Lord in glory would occur in his own lifetime however his frequent reference to the coming of “our Lord Jesus … with all his holy ones” is likely to reflect his earnest desire that the church be ever-watchful and ever-ready for that day.
His encouragement for the church in Thessalonica is touching. We can believe that his joy was genuine because of the faith in God which these people clearly demonstrated. The good news of Timothy’s report back to Paul (1 Thessalonians 3: 6) brought out his expressions of gratitude. His gratitude was not to them nor to Timothy but to God because of the work God had achieved in them.
Paul’s outburst of prayer (verses 11-13) extols their love for one another and for everyone else. As great as their love was, Paul asked that the Lord would make it increase and overflow. How different would our own worshipping communities be if we made the same prayer for one another and for those in neighbouring communities of faith!
Can we resolve to pray more intently for one another, that our love for God will increase and overflow and that this love for God will be matched by overflowing love for one another?