v1-2 - Typical introduction common to many of the New Testament epistles (letters).
v3-10 - Paul commends the Thessalonians for their growing faith and love.
Their growth is evidence of God's justice and righteousness;
God will reward the Thessalonians and eternally punish those giving them trouble.
v11-12 - Paul prays that God will strengthen them and provide the good things they want and need.
Notice how once again, the prayers in the Bible are short and follow the AAA Prayer Pattern. I've color coded the words to correspond to the three parts:
Acknowledge who God is
Align your life with His
Ask for what you want
God may make you worthy
of his calling,
by his power
he may bring to fruition
your every desire for goodness
and your every deed prompted by faith.
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
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In general (but not necessarily all of the time), your prayers should not only include these three elements, but also be proportioned so that most of the prayer is centered around Acknowledging God and Aligning yourself with Him.
Does it ever seem like what you ask for in prayer is stuck in a rut ("help me to have a good day") or seems shallow ("help me to have nice stuff")? Making the "Acknowledging" and "Alignment" aspects the bulk of your prayer will have a big effect on what it is you're asking God for.
As you Acknowledge God as the one who has called you, and that it's His power and grace that is at work in you, it naturally causes you to desire good things that reflect His goodness. By Aligning your life so that His name is glorified in you, the things you want to do will be prompted by faith. Therefore the quality of the things you Ask God for will almost automatically improve.
Remember, God has promised to give you what you ask for when you ask for it in His name!
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Psalm 89:5–8 (NIV)
5 The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
8 Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— As Paul repeats his prayer for the Thessalonians, what is the first thing he asks God to do for them? (See verse 11.)
Suppose you and God were looking over a written transcript of all your prayers in the past year. Which elements of Paul’s prayer do you think God might encourage you to add more often in your prayers?
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our mighty God and Father, who has called you by His power and grace;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that all you do will glorify Christ who is in you
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Ask that the good desires you have and your works of faith will be brought to fruition