“Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
We’ve been talking this week about “6 Ways to Pray as You Evangelize” using the acronym L.O.B.S.S.S. Today, let’s look at the first “S”—success.
Individuals involved in evangelism often know how to pray for particular lost people, but they sometimes wonder, “How do you pray for the community as a whole?”
Second Thessalonians 3:1 provides a piece of advice. There, Paul says, “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.”
The phrase, “word of the Lord,” is a reference to the gospel. Paul desires that the gospel may both run swiftly and be glorified. The idea is that of swift advance and triumph, the kind that accompanied the gospel when it spread amidst the Thessalonians. Notice, Paul says, “just as it is with you.”
When Paul entered Thessalonica, he found a Jewish synagogue and, for three successive Sabbaths, proclaimed the good news. As a result, “some” Jews, “a great multitude” of Greeks, and “not a few” women of high social position were converted (Acts 17:4). Believers so increased in number that for centuries Thessalonica was a stronghold for Christianity and was known as the “Orthodox City.”
What Paul is encouraging us to pray for is the gospel’s good success. God’s desire is that the good news so spread that not only do your immediate neighbors trust Christ, but that the people two doors down from them might, as well. We are to pray that, as the gospel is shared, it might be accompanied by progress. Among other things, that means workers must be ambitious, people must hear, hearts must be receptive, and hindrances must be overcome.
In a meeting in Iowa, a woman who served as a barmaid in a neighboring town was invited to the services. When an invitation was given for anyone who wanted to talk about trusting Christ to raise his hand, she raised hers. The next day, a visit was made to her home, at which time she trusted Christ. She then brought her husband to the services and, a few days later, he trusted Christ, as well. A Bible study was then started in the couple’s home through which their teenage daughters and several others came to know the Lord. Soon nearly half of those in the church were from that community. A similar thing happened in Pennsylvania where a church experienced much growth because of the rapid progress of the gospel.
As you think of your community, don’t just pray for single conversions, pray for a chain reaction.