Summary: Sometimes as believers we neither know what to pray or how to pray. In this study of Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians we learn both.
Live Out Loud – Our PRAYER May 12, 2007
Funny: I can only begin to imagine the strange requests that God hears. I recently heard about a lady who had a parrot that she taught to be spiritual and so the parrot would always say, “Awwk! Let us pray. Let’s pray.” She met a guy who also loved, but he was a little rough around the edges. He also had a parrot that he taught to say, “Awwk! Let’s kiss.” As it would happen, these two got married and as they set up their house they introduced their parrots. The sweet, spiritual parrot said, “Let’s pray. Let’s pray.” The other parrot said, “Let’s kiss. Let’s kiss.” The first parrot said, “Praise God my prayers have been answered.”
Note: I’m thankful for answered prayer. I’m thankful for unanswered prayer too. Did you know that when we pray, God answers our prayers either yes, no, or wait.
Recap: As we continue our study in Ephesians today, we are going to look at a remarkable prayer Paul offered to God on behalf of the Ephesian Christians.
Trans: After five weeks of laying a doctrinal foundation, today we begin the journey toward the practical. As we make this transition it is important to understand two things. (1) Our faith is built on a solid foundation of truth; and (2) Our faith is meant to be practiced in the abundance of God’s grace.
Insert: This truth reminds me of a book by Richard Kiyosaki entitled, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The book is about what the rich teach their kids about money that instills in them a sense of power and confidence that the poor and middle class don’t share. They live in the promise and hope of blessing. As I think about this book, I am reminded of the number of Christians who are living as if they’re poor when in actuality – we serve a God who has made us rich. When you consider the amazing power and grace we have w/in us as a result of the finished work of Christ on the cross, it is astounding how many believers live in spiritual poverty unaware of what is truly inside and above them.
Trans: Paul recognized that the Ephesians’ were struggling in their understanding of who they were and what they had access to in their God. So after laying the foundation of our marvelous faith, Paul begins the transition to the practical by offering a powerful prayer to God on their behalf.
Trans: While the content of this prayer this prayer is important, I want to focus our thoughts more on Paul’s approach to prayer. See, I’m convinced that most churchgoers have a wrong idea of prayer. I say this b/c of the prayers I heard and b/c of some of the prayers I’ve offered – and Biblically speaking, I find that we’re utterly selfish and consumed w/ ourselves rather than being consumed w/ the will of the Father.
I The POSTURE of Prayer
Text: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…
Story: I recently attended a funeral service where the pastor literally fell on his face stretched out on the floor. I discovered later that it was considered by many in that particular denomination as the only acceptable way to pray.
Note: Is there a correct posture of prayer? YES! But it has nothing to do w/ body position and everything to do w/ heart condition.
Trans: You don’t have to kneel or fall prostrate on your face when you pray, but you do have to humble yourself before the Lord. In fact, in the Bible there are several different postures for prayer. David sat before the Lord in prayer. Abraham stood. Ezra bowed down and prostrated himself. The point is simple - the only correct posture for prayer is that you humble yourself before the Lord and trust in Him w/ all your heart. (see Ps. 51)
Point: Prayer is a heart condition not a body position. It is more important that we learn to bow our H.E.A.R.T. than it is we bow our heads.
A Bow to H – HONOR
Note: Bowing our hearts is first and foremost an act of respect and reverence for who God is and what He has done. In giving God His rightful place in our lives we are making certain that we do not think more highly of ourselves that we ought to think.
Insert: Two weeks ago at the Wachovia Championship on the PGA Tour, Michael Jordan was partnered w/ Tiger Woods on Wed. for the Pro-AM. ESPN reported a funny incident where Tiger, the most popular golfer on the planet, was awaiting M.J.’s arrival. Suddenly, an older woman w/ a camera started screaming, “Michael, Michael! Over here! The marshal standing next to the woman and said, “Excuse me ma’am, that isn’t M.J. He’s still on his way over.” The woman replied, “Well then, who is he?”