“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” -2 Thessalonians 1:11
Prayer, as Christians we profess to believe in it, and practice it… well sort of. I sometimes wonder if our prayers only touch the margins of what God has in mind. We pray for the sick, as we should. We pray for safe travels, again ok to pray about. But if this is the major thrust of our praying we may very well be missing out on some marvelous answers to prayer. Anemic praying can only lead to anemic believers, churches, and communities.
Look at what Paul prays in this verse. He prays for God to enable them to live a worthy life. Living worthy was not on them, or us. Living worthy is a work of God in us. He does it. Even more astounding is the next part of his prayer. He asks God to give them the power to accomplish all (not most or some) of the good things that faith prompts them to do. He prays for God to accomplish through them all that faith inspires. Imagine what the church would be like if all who came were accomplishing all the good their faith prompted them to do! Imagine, what God might do through you/me by asking him to give us the power to do all the good things our faith inspires. Imagine what would change in our churches if we were asking God to give everyone (by name, not just an all inclusive prayer) in our church the power to accomplish the good things their faith prompted. Imagine how the very accomplishing of those things would lead to a greater faith for bigger things the next time around!
Father, grow my praying for others that I would ask for you to give them the power to accomplish all their faith prompts them to do. Do so in me, and grow our faith for even greater things.
Readings: 1 Corinthians 9, 1 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19, 2 Thessalonians 1
“The master was furious. That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!” -Matthew 25:26
Jesus tells a story of a man who gave three men differing amounts of money. He later returns to collect on his investment. Two of the men double the money. The third, out of fear, buries it in the ground. This is the reaction of the master to the third man who does nothing but play it safe.
Reason often urges me to play it safe. Sometimes I ignore the urge, sometimes not. God is inviting me to not play it safe with the life He has given me. Risk taking – a step of faith – is essential to living as a devoted follower of Jesus. I need to push the limits of what I learn; push the limits of study of God’s Word; push the limits in speaking with others; push the limits in dreaming what God want to do next. It is an invitation to an active, faith filled, risk taking abundant life with Jesus.
Lord, forgive me when I have been too cautious. Embolden me to follow Your lead in taking risks.
“Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand.” -Matthew 14:31
This was Jesus’ immediate response when Peter started sinking in the sea. The disciples were in a boat. A storm came up and Jesus comes walking up on the water. Peter asks Jesus to have him walk on water to him. Some people criticize Peter for his lack of faith, but Peter is the only one with the faith to ask to come out of the boat and walk on water – in a storm. A seasoned fisherman knows better, but his faith, courage, and daring took over. More than can be said for the others. Jesus doesn’t waste a second to help Peter. He is right there with a hand to rescue him…
Some would think about “toning down” their faith so as not to get in such a jam again. But Jesus’ response to Peter being so immediate is like giving me a green light to try – attempt – risk – exercise crazy generous faith. Such risk will always be met by Jesus being right there to save us. I must guard against only doing things that are within my capabilities, because if I do, I will not need Jesus to bail me out. Peter reminds me it is better to attempt and be bailed out by Jesus than to do it on my own. Have I set my sights only on the possible? Have I missed my walking on water experience by staying in the boat? Have I done things on my own, only to forgo the hand of Jesus grabbing me and making it all right?
Lord, help me to make daily choices that require Your helping hand rather than only counting on me. I want to choose a risky faith knowing you will be there to catch me.