Praying for Others with an Eye on Jesus

2 Thessalonians 1:12 (ESV) … “so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In verse 11-12 of 2 Thessalonians 1, Paul himself seems to have been overwhelmed at the magnificence of the prospect of Jesus coming in glory. As usual, when Paul found himself overwhelmed when he prayed! “Wherefore also we pray always for you,” he says. Paul did not pray just when he was in a tight corner; he also prayed when he was in a bright corner.

The daily habit of saintly George Müller of Bristol was to spend the first part of every day getting his own soul “happy in the Lord,” as he put it. His procedure was simple. He would read a small portion of Scripture and meditate upon it until the truth that it revealed burned into his soul. He would then turn that truth into prayer. He would relate it to his own needs and the needs of others and carry the truth of it back to God in praise, worship, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession. That seems to be what Paul did here. The wondrous revelation concerning the coming day of glory needed to be returned to God at once in prayer for his beloved Thessalonians.

He prayed for two things. He prayed about the nature of their calling: “That our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power” (1:11b). What a calling they had! To be the vehicle through which the universe of created beings will give glory to God and admiration to Christ! Oh, that God would make them worthy of such a calling! How could He do that? By making them good, even as He is good. What a challenge to our faith!

That was the sum and substance of this prayer. Paul prayed that every desire of goodness would be fulfilled and that every work of faith would be achieved.

In our average modern prayer meetings, we pray that sister so-and-so might recover from her illness or that brother what’s-his-name would be able to get a better job or that Dr. Sawbones would be able to find a suitable assistant. It’s not that it’s wrong to pray for things like that, but most of our prayer requests are for such things. Paul rarely records a prayer for physical or material things. If we individually and collectively adopted Paul’s plan, or George Müller’s plan, our prayers would soar. Probably, too, they would cease to be so boring.

Then, too, Paul prayed about the name of the Christ: “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:12). The Lord Jesus is going to be glorified in His saints; Paul has already assured us of that. We shall come with Him, straight from the parousia, with the judgment seat behind us and the apocalypse before us. Every spot, every wrinkle, and every such thing will be gone. We shall be His Bride, fit indeed to sit with Him in heavenly places, able to bask in the fierce light that beats upon His throne. He is to be glorified in His saints.

One way to hasten that glorious consummation is for His name to be glorified in us here and now. Twice in this part of his petition, Paul gives Him His full title—Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord! That is His sovereign name. The word is kurios, meaning “owner.” It carries the idea of lordship arising out of ownership. Jesus said, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13). In the Gospels themselves, the name Jesus occurs many times, but He is rarely addressed as Jesus. Demons addressed Him so (Matt. 8:29), and He invariably silenced them. It is irreverent to address Him as “Jesus” or as “dear Jesus” or with any such terms. He is Lord.

That means, of course, that we are to do what He says. He warned,

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many