By: Eddie S. Rayos

KJV: “For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”

“Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you—therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13;  


As I look back over the 40 years of my ministry as a pastor, the only thing that keeps me standing, serving and being true to my calling over and over again, teaching, preaching, serving, visiting and praying is because of the grace of God, the people I have ministered to who testifies of how God used me to create an impact to their life spiritually and the love, understanding and support of my family.

In the first 2 chapters, Apostle Paul explained how the Church was born and nurtured or built. In chapter 3, he expressed his concern how the Church should stand fast or stand firm in the Lord because during this time, the believers were undergoing afflictions and persecutions We were not told what kind of afflictions and persecutions the Church was facing but surely if it were not dealt with it will surely shook their faith in Christ. That’s why Apostle Paul showed his deep concern to the Church at Thessalonica for them to keep growing up and for them to keep standing fast in the Lord.

SENDING SOMEONE TO ESTABLISH AND ENCOURAGE CONCERNING THEIR FAITH. Vs. 1-8

In Acts 17, we were told that Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica lasted only for 3 Sabbaths and after that they left them and went to Berea where people were more noble and receptive to the word of God than those in Thessalonica. This reminds us that there are places for missionary work that are either resistant or receptive to the gospel. There are several mission works that we started for several years already and until now they are not yet standing firm or independent because of the slow progress of the missions work probably because of resistance.

Then from Berea, Paul left for Athens and delegated the work in Berea to Silas and Timothy but later on Timothy joined Paul’s ministry in Athens. But when Paul heard that the new growing Church in Thessalonica was going through afflictions and severe persecutions, he and Timothy thought it good to help the Church in Thessalonica for them to establish their faith in Christ because “they felt like orphans.”

This act of Paul and Timothy is a good lesson to all pastors, workers and missionaries that it is not enough to evangelize the lost but it is also essential to edify their faith in Christ for them to stand fast and eventually become equipped for the ministry. And so, Paul sent back Timothy to Thessalonica to encourage them to stand fast in the Lord.

You know, one important ministry that all of us can participate is our willingness to be sent out to encourage those who are going through afflictions. I remember almost 7 years ago, last November 8, 2013 when our city, in Tacloban and other neighboring towns were hardly hit by typhoon Yolanda. Several Churches all over the Philippines and the rest of the world from Spain, America, Japan, Korea, etc. sent their representatives to encourage us in our time of afflictions.

Are you willing to be sent as representatives to encourage believers who are suffering and struggling? Are you willing to share and help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are physically and financially affected by calamity and tragedy?

Apostle Paul showed his deep concern for the new believers at Thessalonica not only by sending someone to encourage them in their faith but also;

PRAYING EXCEEDINGLY FOR WHAT IS LACKING IN THEIR FAITH. Vs. 9 - 13

For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?

We read in verses 6 - 8 that when Timothy’s assignment was done in establishing and encouraging the faith of the believers at Thessalonica, he reported an encouraging result of his ministry. He mentioned how the new believers at Thessalonica were:

1. Standing firm despite severe persecution. 

“Therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”

2. Showing love by serving one another. 

Paul previously mentioned that in verse of chapter one. “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labour of love,…”

3. Sending greetings of thoughts to Apostle Paul even though they were separated by distance.

“..and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you.”

This means that Paul was able to build a good relationship with the believers at Thessalonica because there was mutual understanding, feeling, thoughtfulness and thankfulness by both.

“For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God,”

Because of this encouraging and enjoyable news, Paul was eager to pray exceedingly for them night and day.

“Night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?”

Apostle Paul prayed frequently, fervently and faithfully for the Churches that he had started and strengthened because he knew that this is a very powerful ministry to perform for the spiritual growth of all believers. That is why; you will often notice in his personal and pastoral letters that prayer was his priority in the ministry.

What did Paul pray for the Church in Thessalonica?

Paul’s prayer was specific and intelligent because he prayed for:

A.  The Believers’ Perfection. V10

“Night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?

B. The Believers’ Protection. V11

Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 

C. The Believers’ Progression. V12

“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you

C. The Believers’ Preparation. V13

“So that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

Like Apostle Paul, we should also pray specifically and intelligently because prayer can be a very powerful ministry not only to new believers but to all saints in Christ. Beloved, be an encourager to someone you know who are going through trials and afflictions. And involve in various prayer ministries because this is a powerful ministry you can significantly participate in.