Friday, July 20, 2007

Prayer (part 1)

There are a lot of books that have been written on the subject of prayer over the years; if you go to your local Christian bookstore they will usually have a whole section entitled "Prayer & Devotions" where you can find literally hundreds of titles that promise to teach you how to pray. I have read many of these, and will admit that there are some very good resources out there, but how many times do we run to the Christian book store for the answers to our questions instead of looking to see what God has to say in the Bible?

Because I am just as guilty of this as everyone else, for the past few days I have been looking through the letters of Paul, and specifically at the prayers that are recorded in these as examples for us, to see what I could learn about prayer and what I could apply to my own prayer life. As I studied these I couldn't help but wonder how my prayer life would change if I were to incorporate what I learn from these into my own prayers.

So with that as my motivation I made the following list of what I learned from some of Paul's prayers:

I began with the prayer that is recorded in Ephesians 1:15-18. In this prayer Paul tells us that he prays for the Ephesians, and that he gives thanks to God for them. Then beginning in verse 17 he prays:

(1) That God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.
(2) That the eyes of their heart would be enlightened so:
A. They would know the hope of God's calling
B. They would know the glorious riches of God's inheritance
C. They would know the immeasurable greatness of God's power to us who believe

Then in chapter three Paul prays again; this time, beginning in verse 14 he says, For this reason I bow my knee before the Father from whom every family on earth is named. I pray:

(1) That God may grant you according to the riches of His glory:
A. To be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man
B. That Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith

(2) That being rooted and established in love - we may be able to:
A. Comprehend with all the saints what is:
1. The length...
2. The width...
3. The height...
4. The depth....
of the love of God.

B. Know Christ's love, which surpasses all understanding
C. Be filled with all the fullness of God

Then in verses 20 & 21 he concludes by the prayer by saying:
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we:

1. Ask
2. Imagine

According to the power that works in me; to Him (the Holy Spirit):
1. Be the glory:
a. In the church
b. In Christ Jesus
to all generations
and ever

Just think what power we would have in our prayer lives if this was the way we prayed. My challenge to everyone, myself included, is to begin praying these prayers for yourself and those you love, and see what God does as a result.
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