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The Joy of Answered Prayer

Read: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

We pray most earnestly night and day. (v. 10)

The problem-plagued moon mission of NASA’s Apollo 13 gripped the world for seven anxious days in April of 1970. No moment was more anxious than the six minutes of radio silence as the capsule reentered the atmosphere. Would the three astronauts survive? Imagine the tension in the control room and among family members! And imagine the joy when the voice came across the speaker, “Okay, Houston.” All was well.

Paul had left Thessalonica in a flurry of persecution and physical harassment (Acts 17:10). The church leaders had been dragged into the street. Paul moved on to Berea and then Athens. All the time, his prayers grew more earnest. He had no way of knowing if the young church would survive, fearing that “the tempter had tempted” them (1 Thess. 3:5). When Timothy broke the radio silence with a report of their “faith and love” (v. 6), Paul was overcome with joy, even calling it “good news”—which is the meaning of the word gospel.

From this passage we learn something about the pastoral heart of Paul for new believers. There is a tenderness in his words “I could bear it no longer” (v. 5). There is earnestness in his prayers for their faith to be strong (v. 10) and their love to abound (v. 12). Paul’s example of love and prayer provides us with a model of how to love and pray for those we are anxious about. May God hear our prayer for their faith and love. And may we rejoice at answered prayer. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, pray for the ones you love.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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