1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father…
This is the first prayer, Paul and his companions (Silvanus and Timothy) offered thanks to God for their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope. Perhaps more clearly stated, his prayer of thanks for them was for these three things: for their works that God produced in them by faith, for their labor of love that God produced in them from His own love that He first gave them, and for their patience in trials, showing that they had a hope of future blessedness.
1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13
For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
Here, Paul (with Silvanus and Timothy) prays that they would soon be able to see the Thessalonians in order to teach them and perfect what was lacking in their faith. Paul prayed that God would direct their way to them and would make them increase and abound in love; that they might feel the same love for each other as he and his comrades felt for them. Last, Paul’s prayer is that by their love God would establish their hearts blameless in holiness. Apparently, Paul was saying that the way to establish a holy life is to first have a heart that is filled with love. Barnes writes in his commentary, “The idea is, that if charity were diffused through their hearts, they would abound in every virtue, and would be at length found blameless.”