May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV
This verse is part of a prayer that Paul offered to God on behalf of the Thessalonian church. He first prayed that he would be able to see them again. Then, that the Lord Jesus would make their love for each other increase and abound. And finally, that their hearts would be strengthened.
The heart refers to the inner person, what we sometimes refer to as the soul. Paul’s prayer is that the Lord would strengthen, or establish, their minds, emotions, and will on the solid foundation of Christ and his teachings (Matt. 7:24-25).
Blameless and Holy
There is a forward-looking component to this request. His prayer is that they would be firmly established now so that when the Lord returned for them, they would be found to be holy and blameless before God.
This strengthening that Paul prayed for is the work of God, not of ourselves. It is the Lord who can make our love increase. And it is the Lord who can establish our hearts in him. Yet he does call on us to work alongside him, learning and growing as we do (Phil 2:12-13).
This prayer is one that each of us who seek to follow the Lord Jesus should echo. That he would help us to grow in our love. That he would establish us ever more firmly in himself. And that we would be submissive to his working in us. So that, when he comes for us, we will not be ashamed, but will be holy and blameless.