How Might We Pray Differently?

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

The subject of prayer seems to be coming up a lot in my life lately. It has come from sermons I have been listening to on the Web, at re:generation meetings and also just from my own thinking. So I thought I would address a little of what has been impressed upon me of late. I’d like to start by quoting a verse from Ephesians 3:14-19 in the ESV.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Let me ask you a question I think I have asked before. How’s your prayer life? I was at the Stonepoint prayer meeting last week and a nice young and eloquent speaking man and I shared our prayer lives. Neither of us seemed to be doing too well. Now, in all honesty, I keep telling people that since re:gen, I am doing better than I used to. That’s a true statement, but I have to confess that most of my prayer live is about me, my needs and my healing with some quick prayers here and there for others.

Paul starts out this passage by saying “for this reason.” Commentators say he was thinking back to chapter 2 where he talked about what the Gentiles were in their lives, and what they had now become through their union with Christ. He also says he bowed his knees. In other words, he prayed with humility and reverence.  Paul is not saying we can pray only when kneeling, but the posture of our hearts should be of falling at the feet of God. Prayer is not a causal chat with someone. We are praying to our Lord and Savior who is the God of the universe!

Now let me ask you another question. When is the last time you (or I) prayed for someone like this passage points out? When I do pray for others it’s about their healing, their family, to find a job, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with praying for personal needs of people, including ourselves. But this passage is such a heartfelt prayer for others and ourselves. I’d like to take a little time and analyze this prayer a little. Paul makes several requests for those he is praying for and they kind of build upon one another:

  1. First, he prays for power through the Holy Spirit in our INNER MAN. He is talking about our spirit. Man is made up of a body, soul (mind, emotions and will) and our Spirit. When Paul talks about the inner man, he is talking about our spirit. Brothers and sisters, we need to be changed from the inside out. Our God is in the business of doing that. Yes, these people were in need of God’s grace, healing and protection from persecution and so forth. But to have God’s power through the Holy Spirit seemed to be more important. Also, we cannot change ourselves. That is why God gave us the Holy Spirit in the first place, so that we would have the power to live for Him as we should.
  2. Then Paul prays, that Christ may dwell in our heart through FAITH. In order for us to change, we have to have faith and trust that God loves us and will change us. God only works through people who follow Him. Even though the Spirit has taken up residence in us, He will only work as we live by faith.
  3. Then Paul talks about being grounded in love. The new commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples in John 13 was to love one another. But it is difficult to love someone you don’t really know. Do we REALLY love God? Or are we just going through the motions. The way we come to love a person is we spend time with him or her. The Bible makes it pretty clear that we show our love for God by our obedience to Him. The way we learn obedience is spending time with Him in the Word and in prayer. I’m not aware of any other way.
  4. Paul then says (short version), that we might strength to comprehend how much Christ loves us. I had several battles while going through re:gen, but two really big battles stand out. I needed to learn to trust God and I needed to realize that my past sins had no effect on how much God loved me. I’m still working on these, but I have come to the place of trusting God’s love for me. This is for all of us, our past doesn’t have to rule our present or future. But it only comes from spending time with Him and allowing His Spirit to change us from the inside.
  5. Lastly, Paul prays that the Ephesians would be filled with all the Fullness of God. Yes, it is true that God is in us. But it is also true that we quench and grieve the Spirit through our sin. Again, God will only fill us with his Spirit and give the power to live for Him when we are living as a clean vessel.

I wonder what would happen at Stonepoint if we started praying this way. I know I’m a bit of a dreamer, but I can see the people of Stonepoint coming alive. I can see in my mind a praying church, an encouraging church, a believing church and a witnessing church. I can see our leaders being encouraged by the actions of the body. I can see them have strength to keep going and not become discouraged because we just don’t seem to “get it.” So, church, By the riches of God’s glory, may we be strengthened with power through His Holy Spirit in our inner being. May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith. May we be rooted and grounded in love and may we comprehend the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. And may we be filled with all the fullness of God (paraphrase of Ephesians 3:14-19)!

IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES!!!!!

 

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