Praying for Others – Part One
I receive a lot of prayer requests from people on an almost daily basis. There is great need out there in the world and one of the things we can do for those we love and even those we don’t know well is to pray. Paul, the apostle who recorded a good chunk of the New Testament, sets an example for us in this realm.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NET “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
It often helps to read the same verses in a different version and thus see the same truth from a different angle…
The Message Version: “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength— that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
At times I base my prayers for others on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians.
1> I Pray That You Will Know God
Let’s read the first several verses of our passage again:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength— that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.”
It is amazing and humbling to me that Jesus wants to live in me. I know me, and sometimes I don’t even want to live with myself. But God does. What an amazing and beautiful picture of God that paints for us. If you are 1,000 steps from God, He will take 999 steps in your direction. And then He will wait for you to open your heart and ask Him into your life (or back into your life if you have drifted away). God wants you to have a deep personal relationship with Him.
I took that step 46 years ago and have known God in this personal way ever since. He is the foundation of my entire life and the reason I do what I do. I opened the door and invited Him in to my heart, my life.
One of the most amazing scriptures is found in Jeremiah 9:23-24 MSG “”Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m GOD, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are my trademarks.”
This is more than believing in your head – knowing the facts of the Gospel or even having a great understanding of the Bible. This is more than a “head” thing. This is a “heart” thing where you trust the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and then allow this truth to transform you from the inside out. It is an encounter with the Living God which is personal and powerful.
John 17:3 NET “Now this is eternal life – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.”
2> I Pray That You Will Experience God’s Love Daily
The passage we are looking at continues…
“And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
God wants us to live a full life with full capacity. He truly wants the best for us. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly!” (Tree of Life Version – John 10:10) As you read that statement, did you notice the comma? Which side of the comma do you live on? Are you living the life of abundance you desire? That’s what Jesus offers. He offers extravagant love and life at its fullest.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” I’d like to add that the most wonderful joy is to have a relationship with God and experience His amazing love each and every day. How amazing is it?
Let’s save the details of experiencing God’s love and how amazing it is for next time…