What kind of progress are we making in the school of prayer? One cannot read the prayers of Paul in the New Testament without being deeply impressed with how full of God they are. With incredible depth and trust, Paul stresses both the awesomeness of God and the very real need(s) of God’s people. Knowing God and what He is like was the great desire of his life, and in no area was this more obvious than Paul’s praying. The result is a beautiful balance that we would do well to emulate. Let’s continue to use the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 as an example.
Paul stresses God’s strength (Eph. 3:16). Paul is very much aware of the Godhead when he prays (note vv. 14-17). He desires that Christians be strengthened in the inner man with power and ability to deal with Satan and his schemes. How important it is that we not rely solely on our own strength and ability to deal with the devil! Question: When I pray, am I desperately aware of how much I need God’s strength?
Paul stresses God’s stability (vs. 17). He prays for Christians “to be rooted and grounded” in love. The two terms utilized provide a perfect picture of stability – of being established, made firm and unwavering. Because Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, we should be rooted and grounded in God’s love. Question: When I pray, do I constantly realize that I’m going before the throne room of the only One Who really gives stability and peace?
Paul stresses God’s love (vv. 18-19). In an interesting turn of a phrase, Paul prays for Christians “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” He not only wants us to “know” it; he desires us to know “the breadth and length and depth and height” of it! Question: When praying, am I constantly aware of the joy and privilege of coming into the presence of a Loving Father?
Paul stresses God’s fullness (vs. 19). He prays about being “filled with all the fullness of God.” He does not want them to be lacking in any way when it comes to their lives reflecting the beauty and glory of God. He prays for these brethren to know the greatness of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (3:8). Question: In prayer and in all of life, do I truly want God to have all of me? Do I want really want to reflect His beauty and glory?
Paul stresses God’s ability and glory (vs. 20-21). Ours is a God who does “far more abundantly than all we ask or think.” Perhaps there are times when all of us are guilty of making our God seem too small. How we need to learn to trust Him more (cf. Matt. 7:7-11). The fact is – our God IS able, and He has shown this in giving His Son for us. He did not spare Jesus. Would He withhold any good thing from those who love Him and desire His will to be done? (See Rom. 8:32). Question: Do I have a tendency to make God too small in my praying and in my life?
Paul’s example motivates me to have a deeper, richer relationship with God. He makes me want to express the greatness of that knowledge and trust in prayer.