Summary: This morning we are going to learn how to pray by looking at Paul’s Practice of Prayer. We’re going to look at three keys to Paul’s prayer—his POSISION, PERSPECTIVE and PURPOSE.
LIVING IN CHRIST – Paul’s Practice of Prayer
Ephesians 1:15-23 NIV
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Imagine going to lunch with your family and friends. Instead of going to the same old place you decide to go to someplace new. You have a great time laughing together as you eat your meal and the food is good, but when you pay your bill you decided to fill out the comment card which becomes your complaint card. Everything good about your meal together is now forgotten and you leave the restaurant with a bad taste in your mouth because nothing was exactly as you had hoped it would be.
Now imagine you are at a prayer meeting – some of you may have a hard time doing that because like our imaginary trip to the restaurant going to a prayer meeting leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The last time you came to a prayer meeting you left the church feeling worse than when you came! Is there anyone else like me? You came all excited about spending some time in prayer but then someone started their prayer – a prayer that is a lot like our comment card . . . full of complaints. Do you know anyone like that whose prayers are filled with heartache and sorrow with little or no hope?
This morning we are going to learn how to pray by looking at Paul’s Practice of Prayer. We’re going to look at three keys to Paul’s prayer—his POSISION, PERSPECTIVE and PURPOSE.
I. Paul’s Prayer POSITION.
1. A position of THANKSGIVING.
Ephesians 1:16 NIV
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
a) Our prayers should not be our personal comment card addressed to God and filled with complaints. Our prayers should overflow with thanksgiving.
b) Look around and you will find so much to give God thanks for. Paul was imprisoned in Rome, but he maintained a position of thanksgiving by remembering others. Paul didn’t just think about himself.
c) Thanksgiving affects everything we say.
Ephesians 5:4 NIV
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
d) As Pentecostals we encourage people to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but it is more than just speaking in an unknown language. Being filled with the Spirit affects EVERYTHING you say!
Ephesians 5:18-20 NIV
18 . . . be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. A position of HUMILITY.
a) How do know that Paul’s position of prayer was one of humility? The proud and boastful are incapable of remembering others with thanksgiving. The proud see other people as stepping stones to be used in order to get ahead.
Ephesians 3:14 NIV
For this reason I kneel before the Father.
b) The act of kneeling is an outward demonstration of an inward attitude. The proud do not choose to kneel but are determined to remain standing. At one time Paul stood giving approval to Stephen’s death, but now his heart has been transformed so that with humility he kneels before the Father considering others better than himself.
c) Paul’s humility is further evident in that he comes before God as a dependant child. He says, “I kneel before the Father;” his request for the Ephesians is made to “the glorious Father.” O that we too might humble ourselves as little children and learn to come to God as little children.