Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
February 28, 2015
Humble, Texas
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<059> Thesis:   The faithfulness of "The Lord" is always according to His "persuasion"; never according to the "wishes" of those who pray to Him. Introduction:   In our last study we considered the important place that prayer has for the Plan of God. We saw that Paul's request for the prayers of the Thessalonians was made in view of the fact that "incense" has always been required for the sacrifices upon the altar. As to the importance of prayer, Jesus, Himself, is pictured as a continuous Intercessor for the saints, and the Holy Spirit actually takes over the prayers of the saints whenever they run aground in terms of knowing how to pray. Because prayer is presented as a type of heavenly incense to be offered upon the heavenly altar whenever it is time for prayers to be answered, these themes all dovetail into a theology of prayer that calls us all to engage in it on a regular basis. In respect to Paul's own interests, it is clear that he was aware of his own weaknesses and proclivities and how the trials of serving God in the present time tend to play upon these areas of his own personality. Because of this he asked for prayer that he would continue to be a vessel for the spread of the word of the Lord and its clarity in the minds of those to whom he proclaimed that word. This is no small request as is seen by Paul's triumphant claim at the end of his life that "I have kept the faith". This is no big deal if it is "set in stone", but it is a big deal if every individual's participation in God's plans is subject to the stresses and strains of living and the real possibility that one may not, after all, "keep the faith". This evening we are going to look at a rather interesting declaration by Paul regarding these issues of how things work out in time with people in the mix.