Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. – 1 Thessalonians 3:10
What does it mean to pray earnestly?
I remember the story of my grandfather leaving a puddle of tears as he prayed at the altar in his church just a few days before he died. I think of hearing my parents pray, in particular, I can still feel my mother cry out to God. Her passion in prayer would bring tears to my eyes.
I know the prayers we pray for our kids and the prayers of our parents and theirs. It may not always be gut-wrenching or always filled with tears but the picture in my mind of earnestness is heartfelt. It is determined. It is serious. It is persistent and requires effort.
The people reading Paul’s letter had probably heard him pray in public. Others may have overheard his prayers in private. Imagine the surge of confidence they felt knowing that he prayed earnestly day and night for them.
Some of us have been the recipient of such prayers over the years. Now is the time for us to pray earnestly. Think you’re not able to pray earnestly? Yes you can. Paul went on to describe how he prayed for the Thessalonians –
“Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 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” (1Thessalonians 3:11-13).
Here’s a favorite quote I found during a time of brokenness:
“The great people of the earth today are the people who pray! I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor those who explain prayer; but I mean those who actually take the time to pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. That something else is important, very important and pressing, but still, less important and pressing than prayer. There are people who put prayer first, and group the other items in life’s schedule around and after prayer. These are the people today who are doing the most for God in winning souls, in solving problems, in awakening churches, in supplying both men and money for mission posts, in keeping fresh and strong their lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field, where the thickest fighting is going on, and in keeping the old earth sweet a little while longer.”