“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5
It is my prayer for my husband and my children as well as myself. We are the intercessors God intended for our children. To cry out to Him on their behalf that He will direct their hearts to see, know, walk in His love and to understand the steadfastness of Jesus Christ in a world constantly changing.
There are so many places in Paul’s epistles especially where he gives great prayers, succinctly stating the most important requests he had for the believers he was leading. When I read them, my heart resoundingly identifies with them, almost shouting in agreement for one or more of my kids, my husband or someone else as they walk this life. This passage in 2 Thessalonians is the final message to a church that was under great persecution. Paul at one time likened their persecution to what he had meted out against believers before his conversion.
“But the Lord is faithful, He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” As our oldest begins to leave, let me give him this blessing and consistently pray for this direction over his life.
First of all the blessing – The Lord is faithful, He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you. The blessing is completely sourced in the Lord. He does the establishing and guarding. He alone guards me and my family against the evil one. There is no one greater, no one more powerful, no one more victorious. He is faithful. And the confidence I have in my child is not because his works are good or because he performs well. My confidence is in the Lord who is His Savior, His Redeemer. I have confidence in the Lord about you, child. The Gospel declares His great work in your life. Walk with Him, wholly dependent on Him and you will do all that He calls you to.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. What an intercessory prayer for my children! Truthfully this verse is easy for me to memorize (if I’m being transparent, I work all year with my kids memorizing lots of information and whole passages of Scripture, and I am the worst at it! My kids can catch and retain something within minutes, and I’m still working on the info at the end of the week and still need a prompt!) And I need to memorize passages that I can plead before the throne on my kids’ behalf.
Direct – in the Greek, to straighten fully, to go straight down by the most direct, efficient route, avoiding all unnecessary delays. When God directs our hearts, the path is formed and is straight to 2 things – His love and Christ’s steadfastness. This doesn’t mean life is a straight and easily navigated path. There will be many times when it seems hard, where your feet may stumble, the way seems difficult to navigate. But His direction for the heart isn’t wavering. My heart is deceitful, untrustworthy apart from God’s direction. Genesis 8:21 states this from the beginning, “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” The thoughts, mind, motivations – all through the Old Testament you see the theme of the heart central to the pursuit of God. It is testable: Psalm 26:2, “test my heart and my mind,” it is how we love God, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Deut. 6:5). Our hearts can harden, become embittered, be in anguish, need renewal, lead us astray, be perverse – all apart from walking with God alone. But the Gospel declares that He leads and guides our hearts. It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee ~2 Cor. 1:21-22 As a direct result of the Gospel and His grace, He will direct me, He will direct my child to 2 places:
He directs the heart to The love of God – so vast, so deep, so thorough (Eph. 3:18-19). It compels us and what we do for His kingdom (2 Cor. 5:14). His love is the basis for our salvation – in Ephesians 2:4, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us.” And God knows we need direction to His love, not only for salvation but for every minute of our lives. We need to continually be refocused on His great love for us, and from this position as deeply loved redeemed people, we can begin to move out in our world. As much as I want my son to know how much God loves him, His heavenly Father is actively working to move him in a straight path, directly to His love, to experience its depth, to know its grace, to see its power.
He directs the heart to The steadfastness of Christ – in Greek: hupomone; a remaining behind, a patient enduring – Strong’s concordance says this: “as God enables a believer to remain/endure the challenges He allots in life and there is an implication of cheer or hopefulness in the enduring.” God directs me and my child into the ability to walk out all this life offers – seeking Him, hopeful for eternity, keeping relationship with him – knowing my purpose in my faith walk is to glorify Him. There will be many difficult seasons in life – times faith is tested, suffering is endured, worry is threatening but God will direct in a straight line to His steadfastness. His ability to stand is far better than my own. He sits with us in our suffering, walks with us in our doubts and fears in order to grow our faith. The fruit that comes from suffering, wrestling and submitting to His steadfastness is sweet.
More than anything I want the testimony of my life and the lives of my children to be, “I learned to walk with my faithful Lord, He taught me continually of His deep, all encompassing love and His endurance for all situations.”