Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

prayerMany books have been written on prayer using different patterns and examples provided to us in the Bible. One of these patterns is found in Ephesians 1:15-23. I thought it would be encouraging to provide a few thoughts on this passage today.

Have you ever thought about why you pray for others? It sounds obvious, but maybe it’s not…think about it. Maybe you pray for others because they are in need or because they are hurting. Maybe you pray for others because they are taking on an ambitious task and need the Lord’s provision. This passage begins with the phrase “For this reason”, which tells us that there are at least two reasons why Paul is praying at this point. First, as I mentioned in my last post, we have every spiritual blessing. God’s blessings prompt us to pray. Second, those Paul is praying for are full of faith in God and love for others. We ought to be giving thanks for those around us that are following Christ in a genuine manner…by loving God and loving others.

For what kinds of things do you pray? Paul here prays for a couple of things. First, he prays that God would grant believers true wisdom and revelation. Second, he prays that God would grant them knowledge. Knowledge of what? Three things: the hope of his calling, the riches of God’s inheritance, and the great power of God. Then, Paul transitions into a profession of praise by describing this great power that is working toward those who believe. He describes it by calling out four evidences of God’s power. First, Christ has risen from the dead. Second, God seated Him at the right hand of God. Third, God put all things under Christ’s feet. Finally, God appointed him as the head of all things.

My encouragement is this…when you pray today, pray like Paul. Try these few things:

  1. Remind yourself of God’s blessings. You might even review Eph 1:1-14.
  2. Think of specific individuals that exemplify faith in God and love for all the saints.
  3. Thank God for these people…for their faith and for their love.
  4. Pray that God would grant these individuals wisdom, revelation, and knowledge.
  5. Praise God by remembering the resurrection and glorification of our Lord Jesus.

I will be praying this way today…I encourage you to join me!

Confession

I have two confessions for you today.  The first is a personal weakness, and the second is a corporate weakness in the body today.

For those that do not know me, I do have a “normal” job in the IT industry.  I also have a full time family; therefore, SeqHim is mainly something I work on early in the morning and some late evenings.  As such, I figure I have to focus on one or two things to make meaningful progress.  Right now, these two things are fundraising and community development.  Problem is, I’m much more motivated my the later than the former, so I have made little progress on fundraising.  I’m praying through this, and I would benefit if you would lift me to the Lord as well.

I mentioned that the second confession is corporate in nature.  I mentioned Nehemiah a few posts ago, and I’ll quote him again here…

We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which you have commanded Your servant Moses.  Nehemiah 1:7 (NASB)

Nehemiah prayed these words as he was lamenting the plight of the people before he went before the King with his request to go back to Jerusalem.  I’ve personally remained committed to praying over God’s people almost daily as Nehemiah did, and it hit me in the past few days just how mistaken the Church has been in the times of prosperity and how we are suffering for it now that difficulty is increasing.

I have not yet done any formal “research”, but I do have enough relationships with enough leaders of local churches to know that generally speaking attendance is up but giving is down…significantly.  Just yesterday, a local church leader and I discussed the tie to our lack of training when times were good.  Churches today feel compelled to “dial for dollars” just to survive, and I feel increasingly certain that the reason we’re in this predicament is that we did not train disciples when we had the resources to do it…rather, we invested those resources in building a bigger audience.  We thought that the percentage of givers to non-givers would remain steady, but what we’re finding is that the “social givers” (as opposed to “cheerful givers”) are dropping like flies as they panic.  They were among us, but they were not truely with us. 

And so, I feel compelled to confess this corporate failing to the Lord, which I have already done personally.  Will you join me?