In chapter 3 of his book Carson discusses Paul’s prayer in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12…
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here are a few of his comments:
(Paul) prays that Christians might become worthy of all that it means to be a Christian, of all that it means to be a child of the living God, of all that it means to be worthy of the love that brought Jesus to the cross…. We are not strong enough or disciplined enough to take these steps ourselves. That is why Paul prays as he does. If the holy God is to count us “worthy of His calling”, we must ask Him for help. (p. 54)
The twofold goal of Paul’s prayer is this: that Christ might be glorified in us, and we in Him. So I must ask you, as i ask myself: When was the last time you prayed with this twofold goal clearly before your eyes, as your obsession, your ultimate concern? (p. 60)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the heart of all our praying must be a biblical vision. That vision embraces who God is, what he has done, who we are, where we are going, what we must value and cherish. That vision drives us toward increasing conformity with Jesus, toward lives lived in the light of eternity, toward hearty echoing of the church’s ongoing cry, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” That vision must shape our prayers, so that the things that most concern us in prayer are those that concern the heart of God. Then we will persevere in our praying, until we reach the goal God Himself has set for us. (p. 62)
Carson shares a great illustration at the end of this chapter that has many applications – one of which is why we must keep eternity ever in mind as we pray lest we lose sight of why we are praying…
In 1952, young Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.
At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Good stuff to think on… I’m just sayin’!