Devotional: June 21, 2021
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.
First Thessalonians 3: 11-12 NRSV
Although part of a letter, these two verses form a poignant prayer. The Apostle prays for the Lord to do two things.
First, he prays that God might open the door for an in-person visit to Thessalonica. Paul has a soft spot in his heart for the church there, and he longs to visit the brothers and sisters in Christ who live there.
This is a prayer many of us might offer up regarding those we love and care for: “God, open the door for us to visit one another… Lord, make it happen!” I’m quite certain that many of us have prayed this prayer during the last year.
The second prayer goal of the Apostle is increased love. Paul prays that the Thessalonians might love one another more and more, and that their abundant love would spill over towards all people, including those outside the church. It is a vision of an expansive and inclusive love.
Why is Paul motivated to pray such a prayer? His love for the Thessalonians serves as his motivation. This proves one of the principles about love: love reinforces love. God is the great multiplier of love, and here, Paul asks God to increase love among the Thessalonians.
Paul’s two prayer goals may cause us to pray a similar prayer, with which I close this devotion…
Loving and Holy God,
You created me, and other people, as social creatures. We thrive on interacting with our brothers and sisters. Therefore, help me to reach out to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Like many people, I long for community. Open doors in my life to help make that happen, not only for my sake, but the sake of others who are lonely, and longing for personal connection.
I also pray for love to increase in my own life, and in the lives of people I care about. Lord, I know that You are love. Therefore, show Yourself to others in the form of an uptick in love in the world. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.