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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. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. 1 Thess. 1:2-5

Dear heavenly Father, it’s a great time to be alive. For even as there’s growing turmoil in the world, there’s unruffled triumph in heaven—a peaceful certainty that the gospel will win the day, the nations, and the cosmos. I’m overjoyed today as I consider the gospel of your grace—the gospel of your kingdom.

In fact, I can’t remember a time when there’s been a greater proliferation of gospel-speak. There’s an encouraging openness, among believers and unbelievers alike, to engage in conversation about the gospel and the greatness of your grace.

But as I look at my life, and the body of believers with whom I walk, I’m praying that the gospel will increasingly impact us the way it impacted the men and women of Thessalonica, as reflected in this Scripture. What a stirring image, the gospel came to them, “Not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” Oh to be so transformed by the gospel.

Father, may the words—the rich theology of the gospel lead to the working of the gospel in my heart, and through my life. In particular, I’m praying for the power of the gospel to be at work in my relationships—for “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

It’s still easier for me to live in the world of words than to really invest in the complexities of heart-to-heart engagement. I’m committed to loving one spouse, my kids, and dear friends well, for the rest of my life; but I need the power of the gospel to do so.

May the love you’ve lavished on me in Jesus, and the love you have given me for Jesus, be powerfully at work in me. May the gospel prove its resurrection power in turning me further from my idols to serve you—the only true and loving God. To be specific, I acknowledge and continue to repent of the idols of control and self-protection—both have a negative impact in the way I relate to people, and I long for greater freedom.

Lastly, Father, may the great hope you’ve given us in Jesus—including the hope of the new heaven and new earth, deepen and lengthen my endurance. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ matchless and merciful name

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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