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?
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. – 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (ESV)
N.T. Wright comments:
Prayer and music have always gone together in the Christian church, and another musical illustration may help us find ways of making Paul’s prayers our own. When children begin to learn a musical instrument, or to sing, the teacher often plays alongside them. The children hear the music from the teacher mixed in with the sounds they are making, and this encourages them to work together, to copy the teacher and make the same noises. It will take time, of course; and often the noise of youthful music-making is some way from being pleasant to listen to on its own, or even with a teacher. But as children grow in confidence, they move step by step towards the day when they can play without the teacher there, and may even in due course become teachers themselves.
So it is with prayer. By ourselves we have an instinct to pray, just as many people have an instinct for making music. But if this is left untaught and unguided, it will often produce the equivalent, in prayer, of the adult whose music-making consists of picking out a few tunes on a piano with one finger, or of singing only the easiest of tunes. Better than nothing, of course; but how much better to be able to make the music you are really capable of? And how much better, in learning to pray, to grow beyond a few short childish sentences, or the emergency prayers that we find ourselves praying when we are in trouble, and to become real grown-up praying people, able in due course to help others too!
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 26
Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king? A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.