Remembering in Prayer
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
There is a familiar pattern to St. Paul’s letters. One of the key elements that is included in most of his letters is the statement that he is regularly giving thanks to God for the recipients’ faith and remembering them in his prayers. Though he was not able to return to them, he was still able to pray for them. For members of our congregations who were not able to come together physically, there were always opportunities to encourage one another with the Word of God and to fervently pray for one another. Prayer is not an act of desperation when nothing else is possible, but the cry to the faithful Father that flows from faith. St. Paul makes it clear that he does not simply pray for himself and his own circumstances, but also for others and their perseverance in the faith.
My prayer as our congregations come out of this time of separation is that the people of God will have deepened in their piety and their appreciation of the gifts of God. The hearing and study of God’s Word are not things to take for granted. The Lord’s Supper is a gift for which the people of God have hungered. Also, prayer for others is a great blessing of which we should avail ourselves. When we pray for one another, it also need not be for those who are facing crisis or celebration, but also for the ordinary and mundane. Paul was “constantly mentioning” the Thessalonians in his prayers though there was not the same sort of conflict that was found in other churches. We pray for one another because God invites those prayers and has promised to hear.
Now is also a time for us to pray not just for our own congregation, but for our sister congregations. Once again, not simply praying when there is an anniversary or when a pastor accepts a call, but to give thanks for their work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope. The old, evil foe seeks to separate us through false teaching, a lack of love and to take our focus off Christ. However, like St. Paul, we are privileged to be able to remember one another before our God and Father. While the Prayers of the Church are part of the Divine Service, they are also prayed by the saints of God throughout the week. Dr. Luther writes in his explanation to the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer in his Small Catechism, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.” May we believe what God has promised that He will hear our prayers and therefore be fervent in remembering one another before His throne of grace as we gather with one another for worship and as we pray individually during the week.
Prayer - O Lord God, heavenly Father, you gave your only Son to die for our sins and rise again for our justification. Renew us by your Holy Spirit that through the power of Christ’s resurrection we may dwell with him forever, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan