Monday, January 8, 2018
How to Pray
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
Reading Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians Christians is enlightening. As their spiritual father and mentor, he knows what it is that they need in their lives. It appears that one of his greatest concerns is for their spiritual growth and development. Here, he becomes an example for us in prayer.
Paul prays in the Trinity, recognizing the role of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and our need for full participation in this holy relationship. It is by participation in the Triune God that we come to know God. That is the goal — to know him. As a result our eyes are opened and our hearts enlightened. Then, we see the hope, the true hope which we receive through Christ. The glorious inheritance is the kingdom for those who have been adopted as children of the King. There is more power in that kingdom than we recognize and Paul knew that his children in faith needed to know how to tap into what God has made available.
When we really begin to look at this prayer of Paul’s we discover the depths of his knowledge of God and his desire for the people of Ephesus. If we are to learn how to pray from Paul, we must recognize that his prayers came from his personal knowledge of God. To become a prayer warrior, to intercede for others, we must get to know God ourselves.
We live powerless Christian lives when we fail to spend time in fellowship with the Triune God. What does that look like? Sometimes it’s just sitting in silence and quieting our spirit to listen. What would happen if we turned off the TV, the internet, the music, and just listened? Some of my best moments with God are on airplanes, flying far above the earth and no distractions. Suddenly it seems I hear the voice of God. I don’t know how many sermons have come to me in those moments of quiet. Whole messages that it just seems that God is downloading into me. That doesn’t happen when I’m wrapped up in noise.
Be willing to slow down and just be quiet. This morning I’m hearing God in the lap of the water, the morning mist across Lake Kiva and seeing the occasional gecko crawling up the wall. Every now and then a fish breaks the surface of the water and appears on the water. And in this stillness, I am awestruck by the Creator.
Pray for the eyes of your heart to be enlightened. Don’t do all the talking, but ask God to teach you. Then, stop and listen. Read the scriptures reflectively — asking God to speak to you through the written word. Listen carefully when people preach and teach. Watch carefully when you are around servant leaders. Try to follow the example of others whom you recognize as being very close to the Lord.
Pray that you may experience the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life and in the lives of others. The supernatural power of God is still at work in this world. Sometimes we just fail to see and/or experience the Spirit because we become too consumed with our own lives.
Then, be willing to take upon yourself the ministry of intercession for others. This Paul did exceedingly well as he was willing to carry the burden for those whom he had brought to Christ. He actively discipled and mentored others, but was also willing to pray for them.
For God’s people to grow we must learn to embrace prayer as a regular discipline in life.
Lord, I pray that Paul’s passion for others will be my passion as well and that I will carry the burden for others in prayer. Amen.