Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Pray without ceasing. (v. 17)

“Well, I guess I can at least pray for you.” I’ve heard these words many times when one is trying to help another, only to find that there is little that can physically be done for that person. The sentiment is nice but reflects the idea that prayer is a last resort when our own heroic efforts fall short.

Thessalonica was an important city in its time. It was a hub of transportation by land and sea, making it a commercial center of influence. It was also a center of spiritual activity, as pagan cults and temples populated the landscape. Most of the Christians in that city, who were the original recipients of this letter, had come to faith in Christ out of paganism. The church was on the front lines of a spiritual battle that occasionally broke out in persecution against the church. For Paul, prayer wasn’t a precursor to the work of the church; prayer was the work of the church.

If I had to choose between ten people who would do whatever work we needed done or ten people who were fully committed to the ministry of prayer for the mission of the church, for me and my family, for others, and for our community, I would choose those prayer ministers every time. Years ago, this wouldn’t have been the case. Experience has taught me the crucial nature of prayer for the life of the church.

Prayer isn’t something you do “at least,” but something we should do first, and continually. —Joel Plantinga

As you pray, pray for the church and her mission!

About the Author

Rev. Joel Plantinga has now been in full-time pastoral ministry for more than 20 years. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Desert Winds Community Church (RCA) in Palmdale, California, and is married to Teresa with children Noah, Eden, and Rachel.