Summary: What to pray for people in God’s family. God already has a plan that He is working in each of us, but these 4 elements can result in a stronger, healthier, more united church – if we will take the time to pray for one another.
Praying for God’s Family
Intro: We continue our study in Ephesians today. In the first 14 verses we talked about what it meant to be “in Christ.” There is no better place to be than in Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; all things have become new. Paul is writing to people who have experienced this firsthand. One of the first things he does is thank God for them. I hope you make it part of your prayer habit to thank God for other believers around you. I am very thankful for my church family. Paul loved his church family and went on to tell them how he was praying for them.
-Today I want to look at what to pray for people in God’s family. God already has a plan that He is working in each of us, but these 4 elements can result in a stronger, healthier, more united church – if we will take the time to pray for one another.
-As we start let’s take a look at vv.15-16 as introductory verses.
15 For this reason [Since Paul knows they are in Christ], 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.
I. Pray for People to Know God Better
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.
-Paul actually showed knowing God as the end result of something else – receiving spiritual wisdom and revelation. He prayed for one that the other might result. Spiritual wisdom and revelation would be meaningless, if they did not help us know God better.
-Please understand that Paul wasn’t praying that the readers would be smarter. He was praying that they would receive a supernatural understanding of who God is. And God wants to give us that understanding. He loves to reveal who He is to those who long to know Him. The point is not just to know more stuff! The point is to know God Himself, being in relationship with Him.
-The word for “know” (so that you may know God better) carries the idea of fullness of knowledge that comes from personal acquaintance. Paul was writing to people who were in Christ. He had heard good things about them, their faith in Jesus and their love for all who were followers of Christ. The readers of this letter were personally acquainted with God. They had firsthand experience in communicating with God and getting to know Him.
-Maybe you’ve come today because there is something within you that cries out for more. You know you need something to help you cope with life and find some peace. I am so glad you are here today! And I hope that before this day ends that you will see your way clear to make personal acquaintance with God.
-Let me show you a short video clip that may help you visualize what God wants to do in you and for you today. [Show Break Down the Wall]
-You may not have a working relationship with Him yet, but you know He is calling you and you are getting ready to go all in for Him. I am praying that you will not hold back due to fear or doubt. Come close to God and He will come close to you.
-And if you do have a working relationship with the Lord, then let Paul’s prayer be answered in your life that you would receive more wisdom and revelation from God’s Holy Spirit so that you can know Him better.
-So when you are praying for other believers, this is a good place to start. Thank God for them, but pray that they will receive spiritual wisdom and revelation from God so they will know Him better.
II. Pray for People to Know His Hope
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,
-What hope has God called us to? We hope for many things based on God’s promises. Without hope we have no faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Before we come to Christ God works in us through His word and through His Holy Spirit, giving us hope that when we call on Him in repentance we will be forgiven and made right with God.
-When a man proposes marriage to a woman, he does so with the hope that she will say YES. If he has no hope of that, then he will probably never ask. What is amazing is that when we come to Jesus, we are coming in response to His proposal to us. We are not proposing to Him. We are accepting His proposal.