Summary: There are times when we do not know what to pray. Paul gives us an example of what to pray at those or any time.
A Prayer You can Always Pray
S. I. C. C.
August 5, 2001 (Morning Service)
I would have liked to have seen Paul’s prayer list. It must have been a douse. I am sure he prayed for all the churches he started and for the ones he had heard about and acquired an affinity for–like the church in Rome. He prayed for all the elders in all of those churches. Many of whom he installed i to the eldership himself. He prayed for political leaders , some of whom he met and had the opportunity to preach the gospel to. He prayed for the other Apostles. Some of whom had already suffered a martyr’s death. Others of whom might have been in faraway, secluded places preaching the Good News and planting churches. He prayed for a lot of individuals in the churches that he started or visited. He prayed for his own guidance and direction in life. I don’t think Paul spent much of his prayer time on the mundane. Paul’s life was not mundane, I don’t think his prayers were either. In a sense every one of Paul’s prayers was one of life or death. If it wasn’t life or death in a physical sense, then it was life or death in a spiritual sense. That is why it caught my eye when I saw his prayer for the Ephesian Christians in Ephesians 1. If Paul prayed it, it was worth praying, it is worth my learning from. For that reason, I am slowing down my sermon series on the Book of Ephesians. I am planning to spend the next few weeks on this prayer. After that, I am not sure if I will go back to my regular schedule from Ephesians, or if I will continue with a more in-depth study from the book.
I want you to think for a moment about prayer, namely intercessory prayer. When you are praying for a person how do you normally do it? What is it you pray for a person? If you are like me, your prayers might be very different from the way Paul prays for the Christians in Ephesus. For the next few weeks we are going to pick apart that prayer and look for two things: 1) ways we should be praying for others 2)things we should be seeking in our own life.
The first thing Paul intercedes for on behalf of the Ephesian Christians is a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Paul knows that everything in human action starts in the mind. We think it before we do it. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians is that the Father grants to them a spirit of wisdom and revelation. The Christian life is a life of volition. The first step is to decide to be a Christian and to live life as Christ would want us to live.
Some things are inevitable. Sometimes they are inevitable because of natural events that take place. Rain is inevitable. Decay of buildings, no matter how beautiful is inevitable. On the other hand, a lot of things are inevitable only because a key person or persons has made key decision. The closing of the dump here on Staten Island was inevitable when key political leaders agreed on it. The details really didn’t matter. Inevitably, they got worked out because the decision is made. The building of the Brooklyn Bridge was inevitable once the decision was made by key people. It didn’t matter that the original designer and foreman of the project died and his replacement was laid up with the bends during most of the construction. The bridge was inevitable because the decision was made in the minds of key people. In the Christian life success is inevitable when we resolutely decide to do it. We are key. When we decide to be true to our faith it will happen because the only other key cog is God himself. His decision was made a long time ago. He wants you to decide to be true to Him. It is really a matter of will–it is up to you. Make the right decision and the right life will follow.
Anytime you make an important decision, you have to know the facts. If you are going to buy a new Television set, you can go online and compare the features and price of every television set sold today. You can check them out from the $100.00 19" portable to the $5000.00 flat screen plasma. If you get the right information you are likely to make a decision you will be happy with. In the spiritual world, that research is called revelation. Paul prays that the Ephesian church-goers receive from God a spirit of revelation. Revelation, that is a nice ten dollar theological term. What does it mean? Literally it means to uncover, reveal. One of the constant prayers we should pray for ourselves and those whom we love is that God would give to us and them a spirit of revelation. We should be praying that God will reveal or uncover his will for us in the decisions we make in this life. We want God’s will to be as plain as possible to us. We need to develop an ability to know God’s will for our lives in specific circumstances. There are a few basics that we have to have in line before we can do that.