"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." - 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 ESV
These are some really interesting verses. At face value they are interesting and when you look into the Greek they get more interesting.
Paul asks for a two pronged prayer to be prayed for their group.
One, That the word would 'speed ahead' and be glorified among the next group of people they encounter.
Secondly, He asks for deliverance from two types of people. The word translated wicked does not refer to evil. It is Atopos (Strong's G824) and it means to be out of place. Someone ignorant or oblivious to where they are placed. The next group is Poneros (G4190) men who are organized from a different opposing kingdom.
Then he makes a blanket statement about both groups. 'Not all have faith.' The original put a definite article in front of faith so it can be translated. 'Not all have this specific kind of faith.' The kind of faith that is presented in a grace context. The kind that sees glory in the word of grace that comes and speeds into our midst and then ahead and out to the uttermost parts of the Earth. The kind that sees God as a faithful.
Paul asks them to pray this way because he has had 'successful' mission trips and at other times the group has been severely hindered. Prayer make a difference in ways we can not fathom in these arenas.
The Lord is the faithful one. He is faithful to 'establish' you (Sterizo G4741) which in this context means to make firm, strengthen and place you in the correct position so that you are not out of place. Grace puts you in the right place at the right time and in a frame of mind that glorifies God as a spectator to His work. Watching from the correct vantage point and rejoicing at what you see. He is also able to guard you from the evil and the disorderly.
Notice it says that God is able, not that He is automatically going to do it. There is a prayer element that we don't understand fully. There is an invisible warfare that is going on. The word of grace will speed along if it is given free course and yet there is something about prayer that makes us participants in the grand scheme of things.
'Revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat is.' - John Wesley
Wow. What a provoking quote. I stole it from a friend of mine. I am going to keep it. How provoking is that little sentence. If we sow the word of grace, the pure simple Gospel, in prayer and with feet on the ground what will happen? There is real possibility and probability for hindrances because we do it in a faithless world. But then there is the glory... and the people who will be transformed... new groups of friends to meet and fellowship with.
Grace will show us our place. It will put us in our place today.
God fill us with Your Spirit. May Your word have free course in us and through us and may we glorify your name in what we say and do today and through the rest of this week. Thank You God. Thank you for sending Your word our way in You have given us life. Thank You.