Read verses 5-10
Q: What’s the third thing Paul did to establish their faith?
A: He prayed for them.
Q: How well do you support or disagree with the statement, “The two-fold ministry of the Word of God and prayer is what establishes the church”?
A: [Allow for group discussion.] If there is all teaching and preaching and no prayer, then the people will have light, but no power. If there is all prayer but little or no teaching of the Word, you have a very enthusiastic group with more heat than light.
Point: Christ’s ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
— Luke 22:31-32
Point: Samuel’s ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer.
“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.
— 1 Samuel 12:23
Point: Peter’s and the apostles’ ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer.
“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
— Acts 6:4
Point: Paul’s ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer.
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
— Acts 20:32
Q: What was Paul’s overwhelming concern for them? Was the priority of his prayer for their safety or happiness?
A: Paul was “praying most earnestly” that they would be made “complete” in their faith.
Point: The word “faith” is used repeatedly in this chapter. If Satan can get us to doubt God and His Word, everything else will fall as a result.
Q: Is faith something on deposit in our heart that will grow over time? Or something that is only bestowed as a spiritual gift?
A: The word “faith” can also be translated as “faithfulness”. It’s the quality of our obedience to God’s Word, to actually putting it into practice so that we grow more and more into the image of Christ and become effective witnesses and ministers to everyone around us.
And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”
— Mark 4:30-32
Application: Christians are commanded to pray for one another and for the lost. When there is a combined ministry of prayer and the Word, Satan is defeated and the church is established.