We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
Gary Shogren writes:
When it comes to sanctification, one might be tempted to reason: Why should I expend energy praying for my brother or sister to be holy at the return of Christ (3:13; 5:23), when we believe the resurrection will automatically consummate the work of sanctification? Truly, this is an area where we are to follow God’s instructions, whether or not we fully grasp the mystery, and assume that our prayers are part of the recipe for our family’s being made fully holy.
[It is important to realize that, when we pray for our loved ones to be sanctified, we are praying for what is best for them. Additionally, such continued sanctification will cause them to be a greater blessing to other people. Nobody lives as an island. We are also praying that the LORD would be gloried through His power to transform the lives of fellow sinners.]
When one Christian prays for another, that prayer is being grounded in Scripture and also the direction of the Holy Spirit, who knows each person’s heart. A prayer might be general or specific, as indicated by their need. For example, in 5:23, Paul prays that the Thessalonians be holy. In 3:12 he prays more specifically that their live might abound.
Evangelical Christians have begun to discover anew the worth of personal accountability between one believer and another. This is an excellent practice, and it should be widely applied. Nevertheless, no Christian will become sanctified simply by sharing with another his or her trials or victories. Only. The Holy Spirit can effect real change within, and so it is to God in prayer that we must go.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 103
Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.