Spreading The Riches of God’s Grace

“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you…” (ESV).

The love of God for us in Christ is rich and lavish. God’s love is costly, not cheap. It is plentiful, not stingy. As the hymn says, it is “…vast, unmeasured, boundless free.”

As believers, we know this personally because in Christ we have come to know God and treasure him. God has loved us in his beloved Son, who loved us by giving himself for us. We have received God’s great mercy in Christ. We have come to know the riches of God’s grace in his kindness to us. We have been sealed by the Spirit, sustaining our faith and joyful confidence that we really are the beloved Children of GOD. We have come to know the boundlessness of God’s love for us, from the beginning of time predestining us in love and securing the future inheritance of his love for us for all eternity with fullness of joy and pleasures forever.

Having been so richly loved by God to know him and see his glory in Christ, it is the dynamic of Christian Hedonism that we share our joy in God with others.

That is one of the things I see in Paul’s prayer request in 2 Thessalonians 3:1. He urges the church, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you…” (ESV).

Paul requests prayer for his church planting and missionary work. In what way? He prods the believers to prayer by reminding them that at a given time the gospel came to them. And when they heard the gospel, the word of the Lord was ‘honored’ in that they believed and came to know God through Christ. Therefore he says, pray for us in our church planting and missionary endeavors, that in the spreading of the gospel, others will believe in Christ too.

This will not motivate you to prayer for the spreading of the gospel, unless you believe in the riches, the greatness, and the lavish love of God for us in Christ. If you believe that God only has a little love, and that if you share the gospel of Christ with others your portion of his person and love will be diminished, Paul’s motive will land flat on you. But, if you believe the repeated biblical description of the the fullness of the love of God for us in Christ, you will pray that others come to enjoy God in Christ too.

Paul’s aim is to catalyze prayer by reminding the church that we have been blessed to be a blessing. As Christ loved us we are to love others. As those who have been reconciled to God, we are now on a mission to see that others are reconciled to God too.

I ask you to pray that the Word of God would spread and be honored through all our faculty, staff, students and graduates, but in particular, I want to ask for your prayers for those, who like the Apostle Paul and Barnabas in Acts, are heading into the work of church planting. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

Kenny Stokes
Assistant Professor of Church Planting

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for God to bring us new students whom He is calling into church planting.
  2. Pray for God to clarify his calling to church planting among our existing students and for faith to overcome the inevitable fears and challenges entailed.
  3. Pray for God to establish pastoral/elder teams among our students and alumni in order to establish pastoral teams that might serve together for decades to come.
  4. Pray for God to connect us with existing churches who might help us secure support and encouragement for our alumni engaged in church planting.
  5. Pray that many others would be brought into the riches of God’s grace with us by the spreading of the gospel through the starting of new churches, near and far.
  6. Pray for the filling of the Alex Steddom International Student Fund.