Summary: This was a part of our 3:16 series and looks at Paul's prayer for the Epheisans
Have you ever had someone say “I’ll be praying for you?” You maybe you are the person who said it. You ever say it and then not pray for the person? Have you ever heard it and wondered if they were really going to be praying for you?
Now to be totally honest, I have told people that I would pray for them and didn’t follow through. Maybe I got distracted or maybe I just forgot, but somewhere along the line I dropped the ball. Here is a helpful hint . . . if you want me to do something, remember something or pray for something don’t just tell me at the door on Sunday Morning, because I have at least one more service to get ready for and everything else just falls through the cracks. If you tell me at the door, follow up with an email or phone call.
But what I do is now when I’m tempted to say “I’ll be praying for you” I try very hard to say “Can I pray for you right now?” and then I take the time to pray for the person right there.
First it means that I do pray for them but it also acts as a reinforcement to remind me to pray for them later. And if in response to a Facebook post, email or tweet I commit to pray for someone, I do it then.
There are times I will type out a prayer and email or text it to the person. I want them to know that they are being prayed for and I’m not just saying it as a social courtesy.
Paul was one of those folks who would say, “I’m praying for you.” At least 18 different times in the letters he wrote he tells the early church that he was praying for them. And not just a little bit, we read in Romans 1:9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son. And he writes in Ephesians 1:16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,
And he prays that God will give them strength and wisdom. That they will be able to resist temptation and to do what is right, that their love will overflow and that they will be encouraged. And over and over again in his prayers he thanks God for the early Christians.
And when he’s not telling the early church that he’s praying for them, he’s asking that they pray for him.
And that bring us to this week’s 3:16. If you haven’t been with us for a while, this summer our series is entitled 3:16 and we are looking at various Chapter 3 Verse 16s throughout the bible.
We started with the most obvious John 3:16 but that was only the beginning.
This is the beginning of a prayer that Adam Clarke refers to as “. . . one of the most grand and sublime in the whole oracles of God.”
We’ve mentioned before that this section of the bible is referred to broadly as the Epistles, and more specifically as the Pauline Epistles. Now understand the epistles were not the wives of the apostles, it means letters. Or in this case the letters of Paul. And so the book of Ephesians was a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. We are reading someone else’s mail here, it’s like we pried open our neighbour’s mailbox and read the letters we found there.
Or to bring it up to date, like we hacked into somebody’s email account. But because this is one of the letters that was preserved for us as a part of the New Testament the assumption is that there is a message for each of us here.
So the prayer that Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus is also the prayer that he prayed for us 2000 years ago.
When I started looking at the words of this prayer I discovered that it isn’t just a “bless Denn” prayer, but it is multi layered and each layer leads to the next one and depends on the one before. And while it might be “Paul’s” prayer he is simply praying that God’s purpose will be fulfilled in our lives. He’s praying that Christians will be all they should be and all they could be.
So let’s dive in and see where it takes us. Paul begins this section of his letters with these words, Ephesians 3:14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,