Praying ‘off course’?

Have we gotten ourselves lost?

How would I know if I have veered off course in my praying? Is it possible that I may have taken up some poor directions and I’m now traveling off course in the direction, intent and content of my praying? Did I stop in at some local gas station only to get directions from someone who just moved into the area a few weeks before and has no real bearing of the compass.

[Pray for Us]
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 ESV)

This morning one dear saint prayed for a need in our body and purposed that prayer in the Word of God through Paul in verse 5 of 2 Thess. 3… “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

As I read that prayer posting, these words jumped off the screen as a very tangible, biblical, wonderful way to pray for others. Paul is asking for prayer! He not only asks for prayer, he tells us how/what to pray for! The instruction he brings to the church then and now is crucial to our staying “on course” in our prayers and our walk of faith. From 2 Thessalonians 2:13 right on through to 3:5, this is a sweet portion of scripture for us; especially if we’ve gotten ‘off course’ in our thinking, believing, living and praying.

What traditions have we taken up that are NOT taught through the Word? “So then brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”(2Thes2:15)

If we are to stay “on course” we have to stay with Jesus. If we ‘leave and follow’ Jesus Christ, we will. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (v16) If we start taking our directions from other sources, we may find ourselves pursuing the traditions of men and we will be lost.

Finally… Paul begins to close this letter by instructing the church to pray. “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored…” Not to carelessly offend or rebuke, but does this Word bear the fragrant sense of my praying… your praying… the mid-week prayer meeting praying… our corporate prayer?

Consider Paul’s instruction….

PRAY… that the Word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored.
PRAY… that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.
PRAY… that the faithful Lord will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
PRAY… that your confidence remain in the Lord.
PRAY… that you persevere in His sanctifying work in faithful obedience to the Word.
PRAY… that the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Lord, help us. Do not let us be idle in following You. Do not let us veer ‘off course’, but rather be faithful to the traditions taught us in Your word. Do not let us grow weary in doing good. Help us to love, trust and obey You. Help us to love one another in Jesus Christ, Amen.

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2 Responses to Praying ‘off course’?

  1. I’m sure you realize that probably 90% of church prayer requests have to do with someone who is sick or injured. Love praying for those people, but….is that REALLY the extent of our prayer lives? We actually had someone turn in a request a while back that said something along the lines of, “dealing with a difficult relationship, pray that the Lord would help me to be more kind.” Now THAT’S a prayer request. It nearly knocked us off our feet. I appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement in this post, Tim.

  2. TimWitten says:

    Blaine, truthfully I struggle with that 90%. When it is not the momentary obstacle to my praying, it is a blessing to prayer for such needs in the body, but when it is all we can muster… to ask for things God has ordained in our lives, momentary or longer term, to be removed without ever asking for His help in things like ‘help me to be more kind’… ‘please, please increase my faith’, ‘direct my/our heart to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ’… Thank you for this encouragement and reminder of how I might learn to pray, ‘to be more kind’. Amen.

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