What Are We Praying For?
Sunday, September 11, 2016
If you ask most people in our society what they want for their children, what do you suppose they would say? Happiness? A good spouse? A good job or career? Peace? What did you pray for your children as they were growing up? What do your want most for the people you love?
We are encouraged to make our requests known to God. We are encouraged to pray for those who are not well. We sometimes forget when we pray that we are praying to God who knows best what we, and our loved ones need. Sometimes we may pray as if we know best. Fortunately for us, God answers our prayers in His time and in His way. We must always remember that He loves us and He is Lord.
What about you, what do you want for your loved ones... for those you care deeply for? Paul loved the people he had won to the Lord. He thanked God for them and prayed for them. Paul gives us a great example to follow as we think about and pray for our loved ones.
Eph 1:15 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. NIV
Paul started here by letting them know he was thankful for them. He was thankful they had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was glad they had a relationship with God. It seems to me this is the most important thing of all. Knowing that we have been restored to a relationship to the Most High God.
I think Paul would recommend to us that we thank God that we know Him and that our children, grand-children and others we love have a relationship with Him as well. We need to Thank God for their Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If they do not have it, pray they get it.
Paul also expressed his thanks that this church loved people, especially the saints, or those who are saved. We should love one another. It is, according to our Lord, the second greatest commandment. We need to be thankful that our families are learning to love people. We should be leading them in loving God and loving one another. This should be part of the prayers we prayer for our families.
Thank God they love people. If they do not love people pray they will.
In verse 17 Paul said he was asking God to give the Ephesian believers the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. There was a purpose behind this. “So that you may know Him better.” What a great prayer to be praying for one another!! Are we moving closer to God? Are we seeking Him more and more each day? Do the habits we form move us ever closer to having the image of God's Son? We need to ask God that He would move us closer to Him. He does this by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He brings with Him His wisdom and reveals to us the truths that help us to understand the plans and purposes of God. We come to know Him better as we live in an intimate relationship with Him. We need to be praying and asking God to help us know Him better. This is the prayer we should be praying for others as well. Is this not consistent with the prayer Jesus taught us to pray as He said, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?
What are we praying?
Ask that God may give His Holy Presence so that we will have His wisdom and revelation so we may know God better.
prayed for the future of his friends in Ephesus. He prayed they would come to understand the inheritance we have laid up for us in heaven. Verse 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.” WE have a hope that the world does not understand. Do we understand the glorious inheritance we will receive? Are we asking God to help us understand what He plans for His children? What are we praying for? We need to...
Ask that the eyes of their hearts, and perhaps our hearts as well, may be enlightened to know the hope and riches of His glorious inheritance.
What are we praying for our neighbors? Paul prayed that the members of the church in Ephesus would know the power of God in their lives. Sometimes we pray for our church to grow and that is a good prayer. Perhaps we need to pray, as Paul prayed, that God's power would be demonstrated in our lives and in the lives of those around us. God has a plan and purpose for us as individuals and as a congregation. He wants us to know Him and the power of His might. He wants us to ask for His power to be demonstrated in the lives of those in the church, not just for our sake, but that others might believe there is a God who loves them. We need to ...
Pray that they may know and experience the incomparably great power of God in their lives. The same power that God used when He raised Jesus from the dead and placed ALL things under the authority of His Anointed One.
Jesus is Lord. Is it possible that we do not see Him being exalted as Lord because we have not prayed that His power would be evident in our lives and the lives of others. We must not be seeking Him and His power for our own selfish reasons. We must seek Him and ask that His power would be evident in the world because people need to know Him. They need to know that He cares, that He has a plan for their lives.
The church will not grow when we do the right things. The church will grow when God does the miraculous in peoples lives. We need to pray that His power would be evident, not that we may be praised, but that He would be honored and glorified and that the world would be won to believe in Him, to believe that He loves us and He is our Lord.
Paul wrote in verse 22 and 23 “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.”
The world, the people of the world, are under the feet of Jesus Christ. God has appointed Him head over everything. The church is God's people, those who have chosen to put their faith in Him, to believe in Him, to trust Him to love us, to trust Him to lead us to the Father, the Creator of All Things.
We need to pray for ourselves, and for others. We need to pray as God leads us to pray. We need to pray as Paul prayed. We need to Pray that they understand that the church is the people who have chosen to accept that God loves us and that He is Lord of our lives.
What are we praying for? What do we pray for when we pray for ourselves? What do we pray about when we pray for others? Praying for good health is a good thing, but better to pray for deeper relationships with God.
Pray they know God and that they come to know Him better.
The Good News of God is that He loves us and wants to have a relationship with each of us. Have you accepted that as the truth about you, about God? Do you know that it is a good thing that He is the Lord of your life?
As I have prepared this message, I have thought of you... I have prayed for you, for the church. These are the things I want for my children. These are the things I want for you. As I pray and prepare to speak to you each week, I pray that I will be able to help you see the truth that we need God.
I pray that you will accept the truth that He wants you to recognize His presence is with you where ever you go and what ever you do. He is Omnipresent, All Present. You cannot run and hide from Him. He sees you where ever you are, what ever you and doing. His heart breaks when you reject Him, but He continues to love you and to seek to be a part of everything you do.
His Lordship teaches us that we must accept Him on His terms. He is Lord. We are His servants, His children. He decides what is best for us. We must always end our prayers with the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden. “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”
Life is not about our pleasure, or our health, or our job. Life is about knowing God and knowing Him better. Are you walking in step with the Spirit? Are you seeking Him each day?
As we prepare to close our service today, I invite you to pray about your own prayer life. What are we praying for?
Come and pray as we sing. Come to the south side of the altar if you want to pray alone. If you want someone to pray with you, come to the north side.