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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

     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 am overjoyed today as I consider the gospel of your grace—the good news of your kingdom, the dominion of redemption and restoration.

     With hope, I’m praying the gospel will increasingly impact me, and my community, the same way it landed on the hearts of the men and women of Thessalonica. What a striking image: “Not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.”

     Father, may the gospel transform the way we think, feel, and choose. Close the gap between what we confess with our mouths and reveal with our lives. In particular, we pray for the power of the gospel to be at work in our relationships, for the only thing that counts is “faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6). May kindness and encouragement be the norm, and criticism and pettiness be increasingly rare.

     Now that there’s “no condemnation” hanging over us, may we welcome the convicting work of the Spirit in us. Indeed, may the love you’ve lavished on us in Jesus, expose and topple the idols of our hearts. May our repentances be quicker; our generosity more cheerful; and our choices, increasingly gospelicious.

     Lastly, Father, may the great hope you’ve given us in Jesus—including the hope of life in the new heaven and new earth, deepen and lengthen our endurance—less whining through more worship; less fear through richer fellowship with you. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ matchless and merciful name.

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