From my observations, there is a tendency to make prayer complicated. We might think we have to pray the “right” words or be in a certain place or posture. Prayer can become ritualistic, cold and without any sense of accomplishment or encouragement. But it does not have to be that way and I think most persons who follow Jesus know their prayer life needs to be healthy.
Here in the beginning of a new year, I challenge you to think of a healthy prayer life as you would a healthy physically life. Make this year’s goal to exercise your prayer life. Paul’s prayers in the New Testament are wonderful models for us and can be a good beginning step to developing a healthy prayer habit.
Using Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 3: 16-19, I see four simple things we can pray for ourselves and other people.
That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:6-19 NKJV
- From verse 16 we see Paul prays we would be “strengthened” in our inner being with the power of the Holy Spirit. Needing some power or strength to overcome issues, situations or problems in your life? Ask God to strengthen you through His Holy Spirit in your inner being.
- From verse 17a, Paul requests that Christ would “dwell” in your heart. The phrase here means literally “make a home in your heart.” Pray that Jesus is not just a visitor – showing up everyone once in a while, but He actually lives – dwells – in your heart. He becomes a permanent resident.
- Beginning from 17b through 19a, Paul want us to grasp or “comprehend” something beyond our knowledge – the deep love of God. Looking at your life through the lens of God’s love, seeing His love in all situations we face is a great prayer request. But it’s more than just knowing it – it’s experiencing it! The term Paul uses for “know” in verse 19, means to “know by experience.” Paul wants to us experience for ourselves the tremendous love of God goes beyond explanation.
- Finally, in the last half of verse 19, he prays that we may be “filled with all the fullness of God.” Here Paul’s prayer is that we better understand and experience God. As I once heard, to “experience the richest measure of the divine presence.”
So, in just these few verses, we can see a model of prayer for us where we ask for strength through the Holy Spirit, that Christ dwells in us – not just a periodic visit, but that He permeates our being. Further, we can pray that we better understand and experience God’s love in such a way that goes beyond anything we’ve previously known and finally that we know God in a deeper way. What a great list of personal prayer requests.
If you don’t know where to start on prayer, try praying Ephesians 3. Pray it for yourself and for others. Then be ready to see and experience how God answers your prayer!
News Year’s Blessings My Friend!