Monday, May 18

Mission first

Scripture: 1 Kings 4-5, 2 Chronicles 2, Psalm 101, 2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 3:1–2 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. 2 Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer.

Observation

Paul asks the Thessalonians, “Pray for us.”  Then he gives them two specific things to pray.

First, pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored. Paul’s mission was to spread the gospel, to help as many people find and follow Jesus as he could.  So first, he asked for prayer for mission success.

Second, pray that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people.  Paul asked for protective prayer, for safety.  There are “wicked and evil people” who wanted to harm Paul and stop his message.  So this prayer, while personal is also missional.

Application

First, Paul doesn’t just ask for prayer in general; he asks for specific prayers.  This is a good thing to remember when you’re asking for prayer for yourself—give people something specific to pray for.  And it’s good when you’re asking to pray for others.  Ask, “How can I pray for you?”  Ask for specifics.

Second, Paul’s first concern wasn’t for his safety.  Often, our first prayer is for safety.  Paul was concerned and asked prayer for that, but it wasn’t his first request.  His first concern was for the mission, for the Lord’s message to spread rapidly (literally: to run).  

That speaks to me today because it’s more difficult to keep the mission front and center when you’re stuck at home.  Paul reminds me to think and live mission first.  How can I help rapidly spread the gospel during this time?

Mission first.

Prayer: Lord, it’s easy for me to become selfish any time, but especially now!  Help me to think and live mission first!