Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. —2 Thessalonians 3:1
This text gives tremendous significance to prayer in God’s victorious purposes. We could state the doctrine like this: Through prayer the word of the Lord overcomes obstacles and reaches a glorious victory.
The word of the Lord is pictured as an athlete running in a race to attain the prize of glory. An athlete is glorified when he wins and is recognized and acclaimed as superior to all the others in the race. So the word of the Lord is running in the world. It will one day win the race of words—the race of philosophies and theories and worldviews. It will be recognized and acclaimed as superior to all other words and philosophies—IF we pray! “Pray for us that the word of the Lord may speed on in triumph.”
Now just think of it. Almighty God has spoken. If he is God, it is sure that his word will accomplish all his purposes. God’s truth must win the race of words, but the text says, “Pray that the word will be victorious!” I take this to mean that God will indeed cause his word to be glorified, but he does not intend to win the victory without prayer. Or to put it in the most amazing way, he does not intend to win without giving you a part in the victory.
This is simply amazing. God’s whole purpose of creation and redemption hangs on the success of his word. Jesus said that the gospel must first be preached to all the peoples (Mark 13:10) before the end will come. In the end there will be people in the kingdom from every tongue and tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9). The word must run in triumph to those peoples if the purpose of God is to be accomplished. If his word fails, if there are insurmountable obstacles, then the new heaven and new earth abort.
Therefore, since God does not intend to win the race of words without the prayers of his people, the very purpose of God in creation and redemption hangs on your prayers.