Loving God, Equipping People, Mentoring Leaders, Reaching Nations
There is a real need today in the Church – even the Spirit-filled side of the Church – to be praying what Paul the apostle prayed for his people in the city of Ephesus. This was a church that he had planted. In Acts 19 Paul finds a group of disciples. He soon discovers that they are not disciples of Jesus. They are disciples of John the Baptist. So, he shares the gospel with them and they are born again. He immediately baptizes them in water by immersion. As they come out of the water he lays hands on them and baptizes them in the Holy Spirit. The begin to prophesy and speak in tongues. (Acts 19:1-6)
He stays with them in Ephesus and lays the foundation for a very powerful church. This church within two years of being birthed has reached every person in Asia with the word of the Lord (Acts 19:10). They were a powerful and Spirit-filled church expanding the Kingdom and making disciples as Jesus had commanded. (Acts 19:10)
In writing a few years later to this church now numbering 50,000 in a city of 200,000 he tells them that he is praying for them. This is not out of the ordinary as apostles are fathers and they pray for their children. What is fascinating is what he prays. Listen to his prayer very carefully…
Ephesians 1:16-18a “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you I’n my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…”
These were Spirit-filled, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, moving in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit believers. Yet, Paul prays for them that they might receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation…” Why?
It is not so that they could speak about future events coming upon the Church and the world. That is the role and ministry of both apostles and prophets. I believe there are two main reasons a regular believer needs to activate the Holy Spirit’s role of bringing revelation to God’s people
First, when reading the Scriptures the believer needs the Holy Spirit to guide Him in all truth. And, to reveal the things that Scriptures speaks to us that Jesus did not while with us ministering for three years. As well as understanding the depths of the truths that He did share during His early ministry. (John 16:12-13)
An example would be when the disciples witnessed Jesus praying afterwards said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) When the average believer reads this their mind says, ‘teach us how to pray.’ And so, we have systems of prayer that have been developed from the Lord’s Prayer (really the disciples prayer) teaching us “how” to pray. But this is not what the Word said.
The disciples witnessed Jesus’ intimate relationship with His Heavenly Father and the way they spoke to each other. They realized that the way they were praying was nothing like what they were witnessing. They realized that they were not praying – they were simply following a formula and a ritual. Which, while watching and hearing Jesus pray, suddenly seemed totally inadequate and not really prayer as it should have been understood and practiced. So, they said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Teach us how to have this intimate relationship that we see you have with the Father as you share fellowship with Him.
Powerful revelation brought to my heart and mind while reading Scripture recently.
And, secondly, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. And so the Holy Spirit can reveal truth that we need to know for that specific day. He can reveal to us situations where we will have opportunity to share the word of the Lord as the church in Ephesus did. He can give us a word for a friend, a co-worker, or even a stranger. He can reveal wisdom – godly wisdom – to counter the worldly wisdom that we come up against daily.
So, Paul prays for his people to release the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. And, I believe that we need to be praying that same prayer for ourselves and for others today so we can walk in the fullness of the calling and purpose that is upon our lives as disciples of Jesus in the world today.