"Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." (2nd Thessalonians 3:1-5)Paul began his letter by telling the Thessalonians that he always prayed and gave thanks for them, for their love for one another and their perseverance in the faith. Now he asks them to pray for him and for those traveling with him, not that they might themselves be blessed, but rather that their work might prosper and that they might have success in their endeavors in the Lord. There is a time in a person's life where you mature and grow to the point where you have no specific wants but rather have come to a place of contentment in your life. Your life may not be perfect and you may still experience ups and downs, but on the whole, you are content with the life you have been given.
Paul was such a man. "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13) Paul was not asking for prayer for his life, for he was content in life, but he was asking for the grace and power of God to accompany their work so that the Kingdom of God might advance and fill the whole world with its glory. In their work, Paul and his company faced many obstacles and even persecution by those who opposed the truth. Our work in God is not always without contest and opposition, but our success does not lie in ourselves, rather in the one who strengthens and sustains us; our hope is in the one through whom we "can do all things."
Paul, in turn, also reminds the Thessalonians that the same God who strengthens and protects him in his work will also strengthen and protect them in their work. You don't have to be an apostle to do the work of God. Everyone has a purpose and a job to do in the Kingdom. Everyone has work that God has set before them that they too might participate in the economy of the Kingdom. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) Paul reminds them of the work they have been called to, what he often refers to as "good works", and expresses his confidence in their steadfast participation with him in the work. Just as Paul was working, he was confident that they were too.
In doing so, they were progressing, not only in their work, but in their relationship with Christ. Their works were a direct result of their drawing closer to God and their hearts growing ever more in the love of God. The more the loved God the more they demonstrated it in their good works; their love producing in them steadfast continuance in doing good. What more could a spiritual father ask for his children?