READING: EPHESIANS 3v14-17
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
How do we pray for someone when we can’t think of anything specific to pray about? How do we pray for someone when there is no crises, or sickness or some type of loss? “Bless” is the word that often comes in handy doesn’t it)? Lord bless my family…Lord bless my friend Dave…Lord bless them richly…
The one word you will not see in this prayer by Paul is the word “bless”; and yet this prayer is the very definition of the word “bless.” Most of Paul’s prayers focus on the spiritual well-being and growth of believers. Paul wants the people of God to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
Paul’s prayer, especially v16 and 17 is a plea for the strengthening power of God’s Spirit and for an ever increased presence of Christ in them: “I pray that he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being (v16)…”so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”(v17). The two petitions clearly belong together. Both refer to the Christian’s innermost being, his ‘inner man’ (v16) on the one hand and his ‘heart’ on the other (v17). Moreover, the strengthening activity of the Spirit (v16)…is the same as Christ’s indwelling presence (v17).
Paul’s prayer therefore is for the Ephesian believers to be “spiritually strengthened” i.e. to be “empowered” by the Spirit so that they grow stronger day by day in their faith and walk with the Lord. The more the Spirit empowers their lives the greater will be their transformation into the likeness of Christ. Paul’s hope is that Christ will truly take up his residence in the hearts of the believers at Ephesus, as they keep on trusting Jesus (i.e. through faith). The result of this is that Christ takes up his residence within them and make their hearts his “permanent” home. When Christ, by his Spirit, takes his place within the hearts of his people, his presence eventually transforms us so that we reflect his character. Christ then becomes the centre of our lives and he exercises his rule over all that we are and do.
Is that our prayer and concern also? Do we “agonize” that Christ be formed in us; in our children and in our fellow believers? Do we long and pray that God’s “transforming power” and “energy” turn them into a “dwelling” for Jesus?
Lord forgive us for being so flippant, careless and mindless when we address you in prayer. Our prayers often sound no better than the prayers of those who do not know you. Teach us to pray for your people in the same way your servant Paul prayed. Create in us a desire to see Christ formed in his people and teach us to pray to that end.
PRAYERS FOCUS FOR THIS WEDNESDAY
Today we pray for the church
• Pray we would be a church where people would delight in Jesus
In His character
In his acts of salvation
• Pray we would be inspired to declare him to the nations
Pray that we would draw and develop people from every tribe, people language and nation.
Pray we would continue to grow in diversity at CCB
Pray we would like Christ make sacrifices for one another.
• Pray for our many ministries and their leaders
Ministry to the elderly
Ministry to the young families
Ministry to students and young adults
Ministry to the youth
Ministry to the children
• Pray for Christ Church Hillbrow (CCH)
For Godfrey and his staff
For continued Gospel growth
• Pray for CCB and CCH and all our churches that we would know the greatness the wonder and the beauty of His love that surpasses knowledge.