Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday's Word-(on Friday) Pray for the Ephesians

Okay, so Paul traveled a lot. In his travels, he wrote back to the churches that he loved and visited. Obviously Paul just LOVED his Ephesians! You know those friends who you. just. LOVE. I have a couple of those...people who, when I think of losing them, I just get sick! I pray for them and their safety, as they're in a country right now that rests delicately in this area of non-hostile tension, but where carrying around machine guns is "the norm." I love them like they were my own brother and sister. They are our children's godparents, our very best friends, and you can check out their hilarious blog here. I imagine Paul's love for the Ephesians was sort of like my love for this family that is so very precious to me. I would also think that the feeling was likely mutual since Paul seemed to have a very deep connection to, and love for, the people of Ephesus.

We can also learn about his love for the people of this city in reading Paul's prayers for them!

Check out the first prayer he included in his letter (Eph. 1: 16-19):
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 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. 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, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."

I could go on and on, and just might...but this prayer is SO rich! First, is there ANYONE you pray for that you just can't stop thanking God for?! In verse 15, Paul explained that RUMORS (the good kind) had spread about the Ephesians' faith and about how WELL THEY LOVED! Do YOU know a church like that? THAT is why he was thanking God! Secondly, Paul prays that the Lord would help them to know Him EVEN BETTER through a spirit of wisdom and revelation! They had faith, but he wanted them to KNOW HIM! Thirdly, Paul wanted them to be ENLIGHTENED so they would KNOW what they have been called to: their inheritance, as children of God, and that there is His "incomparably GREAT POWER for us who believe." WHEW!

Okay, onto Paul's second prayer in this book: (Eph 3: 14-19)
"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."

Oh dear...notice how Paul keeps mentioning these "RICHES!" Do your eyes glaze over when you read stuff like this? Yep...mine, too. But there's SOMETHING to these riches from which the power of God is exerted! From these riches, He will strengthen us in our inner being! Phew! I NEED SOME RICHES! He mentions that the church is already rooted and established in love...but they needed something more. They needed to truly grasp CHRIST'S love! THEY were loving well, but it's MORE than just's BEING LOVED they needed to work on! They weren't grasping how WIDE...LONG...HIGH...DEEP...Jesus' love for them was! That this same LOVE would FILL THEM TO THE MEASURE! You know those deep holes that no one or thing can fill? Those empty places so far in the depths of your soul that NOTHING can be done or said to fill them? Paul was telling them: HIS love is wider! HIS love is LONGER! HIS love is WIDER! HIS love is DEEPER, and will fill those places to the measure (THE TIP TOP)!

Paul also told his Ephesians to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Eph 6: 18) We can petition and pray for anything and anyone!

Finally, Paul asks THEM to pray for HIM. If I ask someone to pray for me, it's all this "gimme" stuff. You know, I need patience...I want know, gimme this and that...selfish stuff. And then, at the end, I throw in a "Your will be done." Yeah...I just asked for ALL THIS STUFF. Do I REALLY want His will to be done, or do I want it MY way. Let me tell you...God "ain't" Burger King. You can't always "have it your way!" So, I believe whole heartedly that God wants us to pray with HIS will in mind. What is His will? As I live and breath, it is that the WHOLE WORLD would know about His Son! Check out Paul's prayer request:

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chins. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." (Eph 6: 19,20)

Ouch. That sounds nothing like my prayer requests. And, if you look back through these prayers that Paul prayed, they are all praying that this church would GROW in their faith, their love, their knowledge and understanding, that they'd rest in the riches of Christ! Not a single part of his prayers was asking for healing or material things-only growth! I don't know if you need to re-evaluate your prayer life, but I feel like I do!

Father, fill us to the measure!!!


Saimi said...

I'm always in need of growth! Great post!

the welches / הוולציס said...

Awww, thanks sweet friend...for your kind words and your encouraging thoughts. We are thinking of traveling to Ephesus in Greece soon, and I too love these prayers and am completely inadequate in the prayer I've had Ephesians on the brain. It felt like we were totally on the same wave length the last few days. Too bad it's continents away!