2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF IT. Prayer is a mighty power; we must use it. We must not stand by indifferent and uninterested, and leave the progress of the gospel to missionaries abroad, to God's ministers at home. We must all take our part in the work. Success in that work depends in large measure on the prayers of the faithful. All who pray earnestly for the work of missions are really helpers, as really, though not in the same degree, as the most hardworking missionaries. Faithful prayer is as necessary as faithful preaching. The united prayers of the Church, the mighty volume of supplication that ascends in behalf of missions, is the strength of those who labour in loneliness and self-denial among heathen and savages. Each one of us, however humble, may contribute his share to the great result. All who do so are coworkers in the blessed work of saving souls. It is a high privilege; the Lord has committed the progress of Christianity to the prayers of his people. We may well ask ourselves if we have been as energetic as we ought in that great spiritual work.
II. THE DUTY OF PRAYER.
1. For the spread of the gospel. St. Paul urges it constantly upon his converts. He had been praying for the Thessalonians; now he asks for their prayers in return. It is a commandment. He bids us pray that the Word of the Lord may run, that it may meet with no check in its onward course, but spread ever further and wider, from city to city, from country to country, till "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." This is the only limit. The Church must not be stationary; it must be always in movement. The water of life is living water, ever welling up fresh and clear; it is a running stream. Stagnation means corruption. The gospel must keep moving onward, winning fresh hearts, exerting an ever-growing influence over those who have long felt its power. To stand still is to go back, to win no new victories is to lose its ancient triumphs. It is our bounden duty to help on this progress by our earnest prayers. We are met by an inert mass of apathy; we must strive to kindle it into life by our fervent supplications. "Ask, and ye shall have." The apathy of which, it may be, we complain so bitterly, may be due in large measure to our own spiritual sloth, to the sluggishness of our prayers. Where the Word of the Lord runs, it will be glorified; it is living and powerful; it will manifest its energy in the blessed lives, the holy deaths, of converted men; it will show forth the glory of the Lord in that glory of holiness which, springing from his indwelling presence, will transform the souls in whom that presence abides.
2. For the missionaries themselves. They are exposed to many dangers; it was so with St. Paul. He was now at Corinth, a city where there was a great work to do, for the Lord had much people there. But be met with much opposition, at first from fanatical Jews, afterwards from "false brethren" and "false apostles" He bids the Thessalonians pray that he might be delivered from these men, not for his own sake - he counted not his life dear unto himself - but that he might finish his course with joy, and be blessed in saving many souls. So we should pray now for faithful missionaries, that they may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men.
1. Pray constantly for the success of the gospel in all the world. Christ bids you; his apostles bid you.
2. Do not think yourself too weak and sinful to do so; such humility is false humility; it defrauds God's ministers of the assistance which you are bound to give them.
3. Believe in the power of prayer; it is an important element in a living faith. - B.C.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: