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23 December 2011

The Essentials of Effective Prayer 23 December

This is it – the last study in the series. Has your prayer life changed? I have had a lot to think about! In some ways, it seems impossible to attain the standards of holiness and righteousness needed to come before the Throne; but on the other hand, God would not have placed them there were it impossible to meet them!

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Eph 1:15-21 (ESV)

Paul was a powerful pray-er! He had literally “seen the light” of God and was completely in touch with God’s will. So what does Paul pray for? Riches and fame? Health and wealth? No! He prays for his friends in Ephesus.
Spirit of wisdom
More knowledge of God
Open the eyes of their hearts
Know the hope that we have been called to
Know the riches and glory of the inheritance of the saints
Know the immeasurable greatness of His power
According to the working of His might
That was proven when Christ was raised from the dead

He wanted a lot for his friends! But he wasn’t concerned with their physical comfort – he wanted them to know exactly who they were and what they had because of their relationship with Christ.

Have you ever felt clueless as a believer? Separated from God? Maybe God is out there, but why would He bother with me? Maybe Paul’s friends had a little of that in their lives, because his prayer was holding the magnificence of God before their eyes. It was a prayer and a pep talk all in one. Maybe we need to pray like this more often! It’s a good idea to remind ourselves exactly what we have in Christ.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col 1:9-14 (ESV)

To his friends in Colossia, Paul prays for:

Knowledge of His will
Spiritual wisdom and understanding
Walk worthy of the Lord
Bear fruit
Increase in His knowledge
Strength so they can endure
Patience and joy
Understanding that we have redemption and forgiveness of sins

No prosperity Gospel here! Paul wanted his friends to have true riches – those that come only through God.

Do you pray for your friends? What do you ask God for? Health/healing of their infirmities? A new job? Or do you pray as Paul did – for spiritual growth and more knowledge of God? It makes me stop and think!
What have we learned over the last few weeks?

·         Prayer is a normal activity
·         Prayer transcends denominations
·         Prayer helps us to see answers to confusing issues
·         Prayer helps us to find the right path
·         Prayer keeps us from wondering and wishing
·         Prayer gives God a chance to move in our lives
·         Prayer is our way of crying out to the Living God
·         Prayer helps us find God’s will
·         Prayer isn’t rote words
·         Prayer includes worship
·         Prayer includes asking for forgiveness for our own sins and seeking forgiveness from those we’ve hurt
·         Prayer  changes things!
Will you commit to pray more? Will you commit to pray differently?

Please let me know how this study has impacted your life. I look forward to hearing from you!

I will post no blog study between Christmas and New Year, although I will post at least once to remind you about the upcoming “Reading God’s Story” Bible reading program. I will also give you a list of the week’s scriptures if you wish to read along and don’t have that particular Bible. I hope we can talk about what we’ve read – how reading the Bible chronologically changes our outlook on the Book, as well as the insights we gain from our reading.

May God bless you with the wonder of His birth – and sinless life – and voluntary death – and resurrection – as we complete this season of Christmas. Thank you for following along through this study, and I look forward to our study of forgiveness beginning in January.

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