Summary: Looking at the prayers the apostle Paul prayed for the churches he was shepherding, will help you to see the need for prayer and the benefit of prayer in your life
Connection: Lessons on Prayer from Paul
“Priority of Prayer”
Intro: Today we are starting a series on prayer. We are going to look at the prayers the apostle Paul prayed for the churches that he was shepherding. I want to help you see not only the need for prayer, but also the benefit of prayer in our life.
I want to also encourage you to be a part of our “Prayer Season” coming up on Feb. 11th . We will be giving you more updates at a later time.
One problem people have with prayer is a wrong view of prayer. We don’t fully understand what prayer is.
Prayer is communication with God.
Today we are going to look at Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus and lessons we can learn and apply into our lives.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Ephesians 3:14-15
Prayer put God in his proper position.
It is interesting to note that Paul kneels before the Father. In his day, the common practice was to stand with your hands outstretched and your face pointed toward God or lay prone on the ground.
Kneeling represents an attitude of submission or humility before God.
It also recognizes God as the protector and provider of his children.
In speaking of Gods role as Father, Paul is helping us see who God is and who we are not.
“We readily acknowledge, that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers; that in them we are to look wholly unto Him, and act wholly for Him.” William Law
“Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life”
Our first priority in prayer is to focus on God.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being..” Ephesians 3:16
Prayer strengthens us in our inner being to be prepared for the conflicts of the day.
To be strengthened is to “be strong to overcome resistance.”
The idea is that God’s Spirit gives us the strength to overcome the daily challenges of life.
God, through the Holy Spirit, gives us “power” for dynamic living.
His power is meant to change the focus of our lives from the trivial to the eternal.
It is only God’s power that is able to accomplish this. It is not self-esteem, good feeling mantra, but a dwelling of the Spirit of God in our lives that changes things.
A prayerful focus on God gives us resolve in our hearts to face life.
“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love..” Ephesians 3:17
God desires to have an intimate, personal relationship with you.
Our relationship to God is a work of his grace and our faith.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Christ desires to dwell in our hearts in intimacy.
The picture here is not one of Christ as a guest, but Christ being at home in us.
Paul also prays that we would be rooted and established in love.
“Rooted” is a biological term which means “to cause to take root.” It is the picture of depth of love in our lives.
“Established” is an architectural term. It is the laying of a foundation of love.
Christ is to so fill our lives that we grow deep in love and build up on the foundation of love in Him.
“… may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19