Praying for the Right Things Podcast by Pastor John MacArthur for Grace to You
As we open the Word of God together, it should be obvious to all of us that we are about to hear the Lord speak to us. These words that come to us from the pages of Scripture are the pure Word of God from His own heart and His own voice to us, and thus do they command our attention.
The text for this morning is 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 11 and 12. Second Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 11 and 12. “To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
That is what I would call a prayer report from Paul. It is not a prayer, though his letters have many prayers in them, but it is a report of how he prays. He is telling the Thessalonians the nature of his prayer for them. And as you look at that prayer and consider it, you come to the conclusion that he is praying for the right stuff. Sadly, the prayers of most Christians are directed toward the wrong stuff.
Most of the time, Christians pray in regard to themselves and those they love for somewhat shallow things. The prayers are often misdirected and very shortsighted and, in fact, selfish. Christians typically pray for health and happiness and success. They pray for personal benefit. They pray for comfort. They pray for solutions to fix all of the little problems of life. They pray for a healed body or a home or food or a job or a car, a husband, a wife, a promotion, more money. Those things, while they certainly make up part of life, are very low on Paul’s priority list. They’re also very low on the priority list of Jesus, who said basically take no thought for what you eat or drink or wear, knowing full well that God supplies all of those things. Get on with seeking matters that relate to the kingdom of God. Often we ask, says James, and receive not because we ask amiss for the sole purpose of consuming it on our own lusts. So very often we not only pray for the wrong stuff but we pray for the wrong reason.