Summary: By studying Paul’s prayer in the third chapter of Ephesians, we can discovering several key points that help us pray with power.
How to Pray with Power
[Transition from drama…] How many of you need a prayer support group this morning? We make it harder than it needs to be, don’t we?
As we continue in our series called, Prayer Passages, let’s summarize what we’ve learned so far from our study in Luke 11, 2 Chronicles 7 and Daniel 9:
1. Biblical praying should always begin with an acknowledgment of who God is. He is our Holy Father, who is in command of His kingdom. Our prayers should be centered on His glory, not ours.
2. As we contemplate God’s splendor, we’ll be aware of our own sinfulness. God desires that we humble ourselves, confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and turn from our wicked ways.
3. Our prayers should be bold and spontaneous, not trite and routine. God longs for us to come boldly and without hesitation into His presence and to lay our requests out before Him.
4. God not only loves to hear His children pray, He often chooses to work in tandem with our prayers. As we learned last week, sometimes God delays His plans until His people begin to pray.
Please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 3:14-21. Follow along with me as I read this great prayer passage from the New Living Translation.
Before we jump into interpreting this text and looking for some points of application, let’s begin by making a few observations. By the way, one of the best ways to study the Bible is to follow these three steps:
What does it say? That’s observation.
What does it mean? That’s interpretation.
What does it mean to me? That’s application.
Let me make just a few observations that will help us understand this passage better.
1. Paul’s mind wandered when He prayed. That’s good news, isn’t it? My mind roams all over the place when I pray! Take a look at 3:1: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…” It sounds like he’s getting ready to pray and then he spends the next 12 verses talking about the beauty and mystery of the church. When we come to 3:14, he finally returns to his prayer.
2. This prayer is Trinitarian. All three members of the Trinity are referred to in Paul’s prayer. Verse 14: “I kneel before the Father…” Verse 16: “I pray that out of His glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit…” And in verse 17: “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts…” The most common way to pray in the Bible is to address prayers to the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit. However, it’s certainly appropriate to address Jesus and the Holy Spirit when we pray.
3. This prayer is focused on our inner person, not on our bodies. So many of our prayers have to do with our health and physical needs. Paul is concerned more with how we’re doing on the inside. In fact, all of Paul’s prison prayers (those prayers he recorded while in prison,) deal with the believer’s spiritual condition, not the physical. There is certainly nothing wrong with praying for physical health we’re going to focus on this next Sunday, but Paul’s primary concern is internal, not external.