Let's continue with the closing of the prayer in Ephesians 3 with verses 20 and 21. Paul's ending words of his prayer for the Ephesians is an ode to God, "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (NRSV). It sounds familiar because it is Paul's example we are following when we end prayers with something like, "To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen."
But let's take a look at that first verse. God is able to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine by his power within us. He has placed his power within us. Do we believe that? It is the word of God. Do we believe that God has placed his power within us? If not, why not? Supposedly it can do more than we can ask or even imagine. The verse carries through Paul's previous prayer that we are strengthened in our inner being with God's power through the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that if we accept this as the word of God then we accept it as being true. We are strengthened by the power of God to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine.
It implies that what we imagine limits us. We don't ask for enough. We are letting the power that raised Christ from the dead go to waste. I imagine that what each of us can do is different from the other. We are one body, one spirit in one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph 4:4-5). The parts of the body are made to do different things, but all work together. We all have a part to play.
Let's not let the power of God go to waste. Dream. Imagine. Ask.
To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
#Paul #Paul's Prayers #Prayer #Ephesians
We have spent time already looking at Ephesians 1:16-19 and 3:15-16. Let us continue with 3:17-19 which states "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (NRSV).
Whew! What a mouthful. Paul loves those run-on sentences. He gets so excited with what he is praying that he can't stop. His infectious joy overflows at the inclusion of Gentiles in the body of Christ. (As a Pharisee, I doubt Paul ever thought to see such a thing.) So his prayer is that, since they have come to faith, Christ dwell in their hearts and that Christ's presence in them ground them in love for others. This love for others should be deepened by coming to understand the breadth, length, height and depth of God's love which without revelation is unknowable. He has already prayed for them to have this revelation as we saw in 1:17. Really, this prayer in chapter 3 is a continuation of the prayer in chapter 1.
So how does this lead us to pray? It seems that we should pray for a greater knowledge of the depth of God's love. It's a love that never runs out, never gives up. And, if no one has told you this today, let me say it now: God loves you.
#Paul #Prayer #Prayers #Revelation #Ephesians #St.Paul
Another section of prayer in Ephesians is in 1:16-19. It begins with the thought that Paul always gives thanks for them. This is not unusual for Paul. He seems to make thanksgiving for other believers a regular part of his prayer. ("I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers" 1:16. Also see Romans 1:8, 1 Cor 1:4, Phil 1:3)
Is it a regular part of our prayer? Do we start our prayer time by giving thanks to God whether for people or circumstances or God's provision? If not, it can be a good way to begin (see 1 Thes 5:16-18).
Paul goes on in Ephesians to pray that God the Father give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation as they come to know him. Why? So that they may know the hope to which God has called them, know the riches of his inheritance, and know the immeasurable greatness of his power. God's wisdom and revelation bring greater knowledge of God which will bring knowledge of the hope, riches and power that he supplies. This growth in wisdom and revelation is supernaturally provided. It is not worldly wisdom or revelation gained through study or practice. It is a gift as promised in Isaiah 11, now made available through the work of Jesus Christ. Through wisdom and revelation we have the hope of a wonderful eternal life, the riches of his blessings both on earth and in the world to come, and the power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in heaven at the right hand of the Father.
So let's apply this to our prayer life. Do we pray for wisdom and revelation for ourselves? It is a good thing to do, especially before we read Scripture. Do we have hope, riches and power in our lives? The power he gives us is to spread the Gospel. Many people envision spreading the Gospel as standing on the street corner yelling at people. In reality it is looking for the opportunities in our daily life to be good to others, pray with them and tell them about Jesus and what he has done for us. It does not have to be a scary proposition.
Do we pray for others to be blessed with God's wisdom and revelation? This would particularly include family members and those for whom we are responsible. Do we pray such a prayer for our pastor? Pastors need wisdom and revelation from God every day. And they need our prayers.
So let us follow in Paul's footsteps with this example of prayer. Let us give thanks in all things and ask for supernatural wisdom and revelation. Let us pray.
#Paul #Prayer #Prayers #Wisdom #Revelation
We may know more about the apostle Paul's prayer life than any other New Testament person's simply because his letters contain prayers for the various recipients. In this series we will examine some of these recorded prayers to mine them for the power they demonstrated.
"So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth. And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power" (Ephesians 3:15-16 TPT). He begins, "So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father". Did his prayer time include a type of transport to the throne room of God where he could kneel in awe in the actual divine presence? Or was it in his mind's eye that he experienced the sensation of being in God's presence? Did he physically kneel beside his bed or in his prayer corner? Maybe he knelt to pray as he was dictating the letter? This last option seems less likely to me. I've always pictured Paul pacing the room as he dictates his letters, sometimes getting caught up in the presence of and knowledge of God, sometimes aggrieved by the situations he is addressing.
Based on 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 it certainly seems possible that he may be indicating he had a supernatural vision or ecstatic experience. In whatever way he "went", he approached the Father, the Source, the Top Guy. He felt confident that he could go to the Father and be heard. Paul is not a thief in the night trying to sneak in through the back door. He went straight to the CEO, no middle managers or supervisors for him. He went to the Father as any son would ordinarily do. Paul knows who he is and whom to approach with his request. He's confident.
And what is his prayer request for the group in Ephesus? In this case it is not for the Father to give something new; it is for God to let them see what they already have been given; i.e., the Father's glory and favor and the unlimited riches that they represent. God's glory and favor in us are unlimited riches. I believe the next few sentences help us to understand what Paul means by glory and favor: the "life of Christ", the "resting place of his love", the "love of Christ", "endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding". These are the things that Paul prays will be unveiled within us. They are already within us. But perhaps they need to be unveiled so that we can see them.
Do we see these riches in our life? If not, we can ask God to unveil his glory and favor in us. We can participate in and benefit from Paul's prayer for the church in Ephesus.
#St.Paul #Paul #Prayer #Ephesians
"Pray for me, . . . that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains," is the earnest request of Paul to the community in Ephesus (Ephesians 6:20). Typically an ambassador lives in an embassy. When you enter a U.S. embassy anywhere in the world you are on U.S. soil. American citizens can seek asylum there.
Ambassador Paul, who represented the Kingdom of God, was not living in an embassy however. In fact, he was living in a prison under Roman guard. Still he knew that he was an ambassador for Christ. You might say he carried his "embassy" with him. Wherever he was, there was Christ, there was the Kingdom of God.
It is the same for us as Christian ambassadors. Wherever we are, there is Christ, there is the Kingdom of God. Wherever we live is the embassy of the Kingdom of God. Whenever people enter our home, they are on the soil of the Kingdom of God.
For Reflection: Do I realize that I carry Christ and the Kingdom wherever I go? Do I always act like I carry Christ with me? What kind of shape is my embassy in? If the King were to visit, would I be proud to welcome him in?
Let us pray. Jesus, we pray for all those who are serving as your ambassadors where it is dangerous to do so. We ask that they confidently proclaim your name even though they may be serving you in chains. We trust that they will still be able to share your message of reconciliation and peace.
Another of our titles, if we want to call them that, is "heirs of God" and "co-heirs with Christ." (See Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 1:5.) We are heirs because we are sons (daughters) of God our Father. There is perhaps no greater designation than to be called a child of God because of the ramifications. Children grow up with their parents and take on their mannerisms and habits. Children benefit from the education and other things that parents provide because parents want their children to succeed in life. They benefit from their parents' place in society. Children inherit from their parents when the parents die.
God, as our Father, wants and provides the same for us and even more so because He is God. God made us in his image and likeness. We can, through the example of Jesus and applying the Word of God to our lives, grow up to be like him. Because of natural parents, we might say of someone, "She has her father's eyes and his smile." How much greater the compliment if we can say, "She has her Father's eyes and smile, his compassion and love of others." Or, "He has learned patience and self-control."
As children of God we hold a certain place in society. After all, our Father is the Supreme Godhead, Creator and Ruler of the Universe. If we know who He is, then we should know who we are. We can brag on our Father and bring people to meet him. People might look to us to be leaders and to grant favors which we would be able to offer through exercise of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
As children of the Father, co-heirs with Christ, we inherit all that he has. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18) and he passed it on to his disciples. He said we could drive out demons, speak in new tongues, and heal the sick. And we will inherit the Kingdom. At the end He will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Come, enter into my joy (cf. Matthew 25:23).
That's what it means to be an heir.
"I brought you into this world and I can take you out," we sometimes hear as a threat from a father to a wayward son. I think there is an application for that thought in the spiritual world.
As we continue to pray for persecuted Christians around the world, I have still been reflecting on the fact that the Christian enemy is not flesh and blood but the powers and spirits of darkness in this realm and in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). And our weapon against these spiritual forces is the word (the sword of the Spirit, the word of God).
God created everything in this world and in the spiritual realm by his word. His words, "let there be . . . ", took effect and accomplished what they were sent to do, including the creation of the angels. So the spiritual powers of darkness (fallen angels) were created by God - not for evil, of course, but for good. After creation, God continued to speak words to his people, but they didn't listen all that well. So he sent The Word, his Son. The Son spoke his words, but the people didn't listen all that well, until the Son shed his blood and said, "It is finished."
Those who did listen wrote down the word of God which we have with us today. And this written word, which came from the flesh-and-blood Word, to the people created by the spoken word, we learn so that we can overcome the spiritual forces in the world and in the heavenly places by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). The lamb's work is done (it is finished!) and our work is to speak the word of our testimony.
The word of our testimony is the Word of God (Jesus), the word of God (Scripture) and the words that tell what God has done for us personally. What was created by a word of God we have been empowered to overcome (or take out) by a word from us. In our war on the spirits and powers of darkness, our weapon is the word. The evil spirits don't have the Word on their side, we do. Let us speak to the evil spirits, the powers of darkness, and overcome them with the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Let us declare. Spirits of war, hatred, murder, genocide, you were defeated by the blood of the Lamb. That same blood was shed for me so that I might be washed clean and set free from my sins. Furthermore, Jesus is my Lord. He has given me abundant life. He has justified me and made me righteous in his sight. By God's Word and by my word you are cast down. You have no more power in this world. You are defeated. The captives are set free.
As we pray and fast today for persecuted Christians around the world, the song "O Holy Night" was going around in my mind. I thought that was really strange - a Christmas carol playing in my head while praying against persecution. So I looked up the words. The third verse and chorus, which I don't ever recall hearing, are as follows (according to Wikipedia).
Truly He taught us to love one another;
Today let us remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of evil and the ruling spirits of murder, hatred, slavery, persecution and oppression (Ephesians 6:12-13). We do not seek revenge or retribution.
Let us pray. Jesus, we place ourselves within your hedge of protection as a surrounding barrier and we put ourselves under your wing. We stand today with those who are too weak to stand, in too much pain or fear to utter a prayer. And we command the powers of darkness to be dispelled by the light of Christ. We tear down the strongholds of murder, hatred, slavery, and persecution. We break the chains of those who are enslaved. We declare for all the world to hear that "Jesus Christ is Lord."
This standing that we are to do in chapter 6 of Paul's encouragement to the Ephesians is one of holding our ground because the battle has already been won by Christ. Christ defeated the enemy so we are holding onto the ground he has already won. As Paul says elsewhere (Romans 8:37) we are more than conquerors. When we stand with Christ we are overcomers.
As has been pointed out by many authors over the years, the armor we are to put on is defensive, not offensive. We don't need to take the ground, we need only to hold it.
For Reflection: Since Christ has already won the battle, defeated the enemy, we should be praising and thanking him for that. We need not ask him to win the battle for us, it is already won. Let us stand in strength, serenity and confidence.
Let us pray. We thank you, Jesus, for having already won the battle. We praise you for your victory over every enemy. We praise you for your victory over temptation, sin and even death. We stand with you as victors, overcomers and conquerors.
Sit, walk, build, imitate, love, submit. What is next in Paul's exhortation to the church in Ephesus? Stand. Yet we cannot move into the standing position if we do not progress through the earlier ones. And whereas walking comes out of sitting in the heavenly realms with Christ, so does standing. Sitting is our place of rest and nourishment. Sitting is our grounding. We must be grounded and rooted in Christ and what he has done for us before we endeavor to do anything with him. We cannot do anything for Christ, but we can do many things with him who strengthens us and enables us to fulfill our calling, our destiny to help establish the kingdom of God on earth.
It is sitting and then walking, imitating, loving and submitting that enable us to be "strong in the Lord" and to "put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:10-11) so that we can stand. We construct our own set of armor while sitting and walking. We each have our own belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Our belt of truth may be stronger than someone else's, but their shield of faith may be stronger than ours. Together we are one body of Christ equipped with the strongest armor to stand against the enemy. It is important not to stand alone, but to stand as one with the body of Christ.
For Reflection: Am I sitting with Christ? Am I walking with him? Am I standing with Christ and with his body, or am I standing alone?
Let us pray. God, you are my refuge and strength. I sit with you, I walk with you, I stand with you.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.