This is not a direct command from Paul. Rather, this is a prayer, a petition given up to the Lord for the saints in Thessalonica. Yet even this petition has application for the Thessalonians. And as we all pray this for Redeemer Church, we have similar application:
- The saints should pray the same thing that their leaders are praying for them. To pray in agreement is much like saying "Amen, let it be so, Lord."
- The saints should see God's love and Christ's perseverance as goals in their spiritual lives (in their hearts). Does your heart desire God's love? Does it desire the harder sort of God's love, the kind that loves it enemies? Does your heart desire the perseverance of Christ? Even if it means, as it did for Jesus, persevering to death?
- The saints should strive to know and understand God's love and Christ's perseverance continually in a better way. This is one reason that the New Testament Challenge is so exciting for us: we cannot think of a better way to learn more of God's love and Christ's perseverance.
As you can see, there are things that every believer can do even after a prayer is offered to God. When we lay our requests before God, it does not mean that we can simply check it off our list and kick back to wait for God to do everything. Indeed, prayer is only the first level where God expects us to be involved in answers to prayer. Instead our mindset should be "Pray and then get to work".