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Summary: Prayer is the key to unleashing the power of God in the life of the individual.

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Unleash The Power

Ephesians 1:15-23

In 1907, the great preacher E.M. Bounds wrote these powerful words which are still challenging the hearts of God's people to this day.

God's plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God's method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men...What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use--men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men--men of prayer. (Preacher and Prayer, E.M. Bounds, 1907, p. 5,7)

In the past several weeks Almighty God has been continuously probing my heart concerning prayer; the time that I spend with Him resting in His arms, listening to His voice, and heeding His call upon my life. I have to admit to you that it has been one of the most challenging times I have experienced in a long time. I, like most of you, have convinced myself that I am too busy to spend extended times in prayer, or doing "nothing" as some of us would say. I have things to do, people to see, places to go...you know the line. I have rationalized and justified my busyness by seeking to convince myself that if the sermon doesn't get written then I could be in big trouble. If the articles don't get written for the newsletter then we will publish blank sheets of paper. If I don't make myself available to every single person who needs to talk then I will be talked about in negative terms. God has shown me in recent weeks that the problem with all of the above concerns is "I." I have made myself the focus, the creator of all that flows from me, and I have been wrong. John Wesley once said, "I have an especially busy schedule before me today, therefore I will need to spend an extra hour in prayer."

God has shown me that He wants me, humbled and still before His presence more than He wants the sermons I write, the classes I teach, the counsel I offer, or the people I lead to His Son. God wants me and you to come before Him seeking nothing more than to come to know His heart, to be still so that we can hear His precious voice calling us to a deeper relationship with Him.

I am learning that it is in these quiet moments of seeking the heart of God in prayer that He unleashes the power for walking in His Spirit and living as He has called us to live. I want to encourage you this morning to unleash the power God has supplied for living victoriously in our day-to-day lives. For our study this morning we will focus on Ephesians 1:15-23. Take a look at our Scripture for this morning.

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. (Eph 1:15-23 NIV)

This is Paul's prayer for those he loves. This is also my prayer for you, those I love and pray for continuously. Because of what I do the Lord allows me to have an insight on the most intimate details of people's lives. I have arrived at some conclusions that burden my heart.

I am convinced that most of the followers of Jesus are beaten down and living defeated from day-to-day. Satan is beating up on the Body of Christ one-by-one. He has convinced scores of believers that they are losers, inept, and ineffective in their Christian walk. As a result they have taken a seat on the sidelines of life in exchange for the satisfaction of knowing that if they do nothing then they won't have to face failure ever again. Those who have suffered the break-up of their marriage vow to never go through "that" again. Those who volunteered to work in a ministry and were hurt or discouraged back away from the vision God placed in their heart and vow to never make themselves vulnerable again. Those who once shared a deep friendship only to have their heart ripped out vow to never get that close to another person again. Those who tried to start a business that would give glory to God only to have the responsibilities of leadership lead them into sleepless nights promise themselves that they will quit as soon as they can find someone to take over. Those who decided to attend a Bible class only to find they have gotten behind in their lessons decide that they just can't do it and never go back again. Those who committed to daily prayer miss a day or two or a month and give up prayer altogether.

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