An Echo of Faith and Faithfulness
Heavenly Father, we bow before you in gratitude for the faith that unites us and for those who have gone before us as our encouragers and examples in the faith. Open our hearts to the sanctifying power of your Word, and may our lives be a joyful echo of the love, hope, and faith found in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
The Great Tradition
For to give thanks to God for them is the act of one testifying to how they have advanced in the faith. Not only are the Thessalonians praised by Paul, but Paul thanks God for them, as though God himself had accomplished everything. Paul also teaches them to be moderate in their self-estimation, all but saying that all their growth is from the power of God. (Chrystostom)
Prayer of Confession
Forgiving Father, in the busyness of life, we confess that we sometimes neglect the active expression of our faith. We acknowledge moments when joy eludes us in the midst of challenges, and idols subtly take precedence over our devotion to you. Have mercy on us, cleanse our hearts, and guide us in the path of transforming grace. In the name of Jesus, we humbly pray. Amen.
Good Shepherd, thank you for those who have shepherded me throughout my life and faith. For those who have led, fed, protected, healed, cared for, and loved me, I offer you my deepest gratitude. These are the very men and women who have modeled faith and godliness for me. I have been impacted in rich ways I will never be fully aware of, but also in many ways in which I am. Thank you for sending these people into my life O Lord, because I know every good gift is from you, including these shepherds and models of faith.
God, I pray that you will continually fill me with power from your Spirit, as you did the Thessalonians, for I cannot persevere without your gracious strength and stamina. Your Spirit animates my faith and life, from first to last, and I am lost without his presence living in and through me.
I humbly pray that my efforts of feebly attempting to imitate the godliness of those who have come before me will serve others on their journeys of faith as well. Like the Thessalonians, I pray that your truth will ring out by the example of my life, so that others might see and hear it and give you glory and praise and come to know you savingly.
I praise you for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and for rescuing me from the coming wrath. Please enable my “Christian ringing” to be an attractive echoing of grace, truth, and love, even in its urgency, instead of a clanging gong that drives others away from you. Let my message be your message and help me to trust you in all of it. Remind me that you will bring forth the fruit, not me. You call me to be faithful to you, regardless of how the world hears me. Give me faithfulness each day dear Lord. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
This Advent season, may the joy of the Thessalonians inspire us to express our faith dynamically. Let our actions, prompted by love, be a testament to the life-changing power of the Gospel. In imitating Christ and turning from our own idols, may our lives echo the Lord’s message, bringing hope to a world in need. May this Advent be a time of renewed commitment, good works, and anticipation for the glorious return of our Savior. Amen.
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Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: (Proverbs 23:19)
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.