2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
To me the Japanese makes slightly more sense than the NIV here. Where the NIV says “count you worthy,” the Japanese says, “cause you to be worthy.” I haven’t checked the Greek on that, but with my understanding of English, “count” would mean to consider as such even when the evidence is lacking, as in, “count yourselves dead to sin.” (Romans 6:11) God already sees us as worthy because of Christ, so it would be logical to pray that how He sees us would be manifested in our daily living. Going on, it really clicks that Paul would pray that our good desires would be fulfilled. Most of us want the right stuff, at least with our spirits; it’s the weakness of our flesh that gets in the way. That’s just as Jesus said to Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) That’s a good way for us to pray for one another. The last part goes a little further than good desires, to actions that come from faith. As Paul said to the Romans, everything that is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) When we act on what we believe God is saying, then God will honor that, even if we have misheard Him a bit. God does correct us when we’re off course, but it’s much easier for Him to do that when we’re moving in faith, just as it’s easier to turn the wheel of a vehicle that’s moving (minus power steering) than when it’s sitting still. We should be acting in faith all the time, and praying for one another as we do so.
This is certainly a good course of action for me as a pastor. Most of the believers really do want good stuff, so I should back them up in prayer. Likewise, most of them do act in faith, though their actions are pretty tentative at times. I am to be encouraging them to their face and praying for them behind their back, so that they may grow and God’s plans for them be fulfilled. At times their misses and flubs stand out, but that is not to be my focus. Rather, I am to understand that God has already called them in Christ, and pray that they be transformed into “spi’t’n images” of Jesus, as is only appropriate for those who are so called. (That’s an old Southern expression, condensed from “spirit and image,” meaning to be just like someone else. It’s often misquoted as “spitting image.”) That’s God’s will, and I can have a lot of confidence in praying it!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for those who have prayed for me this way, especially my parents. Help me be a good spiritual parent to those under my care, praying for them faithfully so that Your will may be done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!