But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you- for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?1 Thessalonians 3:6-10
At the end of the passage above, Paul says that he prays “most earnestly night and day” for the believers in Thessalonica.
What does it mean to pray earnestly?
I think of the story of my grandfather leaving a puddle of tears at the altar as he cried out for what was most important in his life just a few days before he died.
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.
If you’ve read these devotionals for any length of time, 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.”S.D. Gordon