2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
New American Standard Version
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
Our continual prayer and desire for you is that you would be encouraged in your hearts and strengthened in your lives to say and do everything that the Lord would want you to. May this encouragement and confidence come from our Lord Himself, who loved us and by His grace made us His own.
“How does this help me become more like Him?”
When Paul communicated to the Thessalonian believers what he wanted and prayed for them, he touched upon three basic elements of living each day for Christ. First, he prayed for their attitude about life. It was his heart’s prayer and desire that they be “encouraged” and “strengthened”. He knew that they needed a positive and victorious attitude about life in order to be effective in living for the Lord. Many Christians never get on track in their Christian life because they have a bad or wrong attitude. They are negative, cynical, or simply pessimistic about life in general. Rather than being filled with praise and expectancy, they are complaining and defeated. Their faithless attitude is a “dam” that blocks the flow of God’s blessing and power in their life. They will never make any substantial progress in their walk with the Lord until they change their attitude.
Secondly, Paul prays that they would allow the Lord to control their words. Certainly, profanity, gossip, and other sins of the tongue would be included in what the apostle would pray to be eliminated from their lives. However, I believe his prayer was for more than what they shouldn’t say – he was praying that the right kind of speech would come from their lips. He desired that they would become believers who continually spoke words of encouragement, affirmation, wise counsel, comfort, and loving admonition when needed.
Paul understood that we are, in many ways, defined by what we say to others. He longed for them to speak words that reflected the faith and trust in Christ in their hearts. He prayed that they would not speak words in anger that would hurt or wound others. He desired that they would always speak the truth and always do so in love. He wanted their speech to be filled with tact and grace.
Thirdly, the apostle prayed that their actions would always be what was in the will of God for their lives and would reflect a Christlike spirit from their hearts. The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words” is true in many ways. We must say the right words but our actions must back them up. There must be a consistency between what we say and what we do. They both should reflect an awareness of what is pleasing to our Lord.
When these three dimensions of our lives come under the control of the Holy Spirit, what an incredible difference it makes in our lives. When we came to Christ and laid our lives at His feet, these parts of who we are came under His ownership. We are no longer our own to think, speak, and act as we please. We belong to Him. We were bought with the price of His precious blood. May the prayer of the great apostle for those early believers become the prayer of our own hearts for our lives as well. May we think, speak, and act more like Him.
“How should I pray for Him to change my life?”
Pray that the Lord would change any wrong attitudes that you have that are a negative testimony to His power to change a life by His grace. Ask Him to help you say only those words that are wise, helpful, and pleasing to Him. Surrender to the Holy Spirit your life so that your actions would be those that allow people to see Christ in you.