Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
In 2010, Brandon Stanton began a
photography project titled “Humans
of New York,” with the goal of
photographing every one of New York
City’s inhabitants. As he took pictures,
Stanton also documented the stories
his subjects told him about their lives.
The resulting collection of images and
quotes currently contains hundreds of
portraits and has over twenty million
social media followers. Part of the
appeal of “Humans of New York” is its
implicit affirmation that every person
is valuable and every person’s story is
worth knowing. In today’s passage, Paul
gives us a portrait of the Thessalonian
church; its intimate details celebrate
the life of those Christians, providing a
pattern for our own intercession.
Paul begins with a statement of fact:
these believers belong to the Father and
the Son by the work of the Spirit. Though
this church endured severe suffering
and was confused about their future
resurrection, they were securely and
eternally loved by God. As we intercede
for “all the Lord’s people” (Eph. 6:18), we
remember that they are first of all people
who belong to the Lord.
The Thessalonians lived out this identity
with their “work produced by faith” (v.
3). In the midst of trials, they modeled
their lives on the lives of the apostles,
who were often persecuted, and on
Christ himself—our highest example of
righteous suffering (1 Peter 2:21). Then,
having followed godly examples, the
Thessalonians became examples for the
other churches in their region and even
believers everywhere (v. 8).
These stories motivated Paul. He gives
thanks to God for the believers, he
mentions them constantly in prayer, and
he remembers them before the Lord (vv.
2–3). His knowledge of their situation
and his concern for their spiritual
wellbeing find their expression in prayer.
Apply the Word
Though we might intend to pray for “all the Lord’s people” (Eph. 6:18), we often fail to remember everyone. If you have a directory of the members of your church, a list of missionaries you support, or a map of the world, you can use it to systematically mention people before the Lord. Or create your own list with notes about the needs of others.
Pray with Us
We continue in prayer for our Public Safety team today: George Kourtev, Jacob Muscat, Justin Copelin, and Kyle Hopp. May God protect them and bless their hard work and dedication as they keep Moody safe with their vigilance.