Praying Paul’s Prayer

It has been said that we can do no better than to pray the words of Scripture when we pray.

Therefore, I offer this prayer from the first chapter of Ephesians, which closes with the last words of this marvelous epistle.

Personal Prayer

I thank you, God, the Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, for blessing me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Thank you for choosing me in Him from before the foundation of the world so that I might be holy and blameless before you. It was in your love that you predestined me for adoption as a son (or daughter) through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of your will, to the praise of your grace with which you have blessed me in the Beloved. In Christ, I have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of my trespasses according to the riches of your grace, which you have lavished upon me with all wisdom and insight. You are making known to me the mystery of your will, according to your purpose that you set forth in Christ. It has been your plan that in the fulness of time you would unite all things in heaven and all things on earth in him.

It is in Christ that I have obtained an inheritance, because I was predestined according to your purpose who works all things according to the counsel of your will, so that I might be effective to the praise of your glory. When I heard the word of truth, the gospel of my salvation, you allowed me to believe in him, and sealed me with the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of my inheritance until I actually take possession of it. That is to your glory and I praise you for it.

Prayer for Others

Lord God, I thank you for (insert name). I pray that you give (him/her/them) a spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Jesus. I pray that the eyes of their heart be enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which you have called them, and what are the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints. I pray that they may know the immeasurable greatness of your power toward those of us who believe. That great power was what you worked in Christ Jesus when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. He is far above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And you have put all things under his feet and given him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

And Father, I pray that you grant peace and love with faith, and grace to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

NOTE: This is the first in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Ephesians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter one of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Compassion

I awoke this morning in awe at how the Lord is changing things in my heart.

A few decades ago, I had to ask the Lord for compassion. If He wanted me to be a pastor, then there was no way I could function with the hardness of heart I exhibited toward people. I operated from the standpoint of, “You made your bed. Now you have to lie in it.”

It broke my heart that my heart was in such condition.

Over the years that followed, I have seen the Lord’s work of grace in my heart, as compassion has been developed. It is not something that I have done, but a work of grace within me.

This past decade, He has been teaching me the difference between human and divine compassion–a lesson not easily learned. (I’ll not discuss the distinctions of each here. Maybe later.)

I’ve grown to have compassion on those whom I love, and those with whom I am related in business or socially.

But, this morning, I awoke with a burden on my heart for those I only know through the blogosphere. I’ve never met them. I do not know the sound of their voice.

I only know that they are hurting–and I was hurt by their pain.

For that I am grateful.

One is caught in the aftermath of an ice storm and has no power.

One has had his income severely curtailed and has to relocate.

One has a new job that changes the way things were done at home, and mutual support is now challenging.

One is dealing with marital betrayal.

One is dealing with a son who is having tremendous difficulty.

I awoke praying intensely for each of these–my friends whom I have never met–in a way that I’ve never prayed even for those oft-repeated ‘prayer requests’ for sickness and pain within the local assembly.

It is a new day for me. And I am thankful for the new work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Philippians 1:9-12

Php 1:9-12
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;    KJV

We have been studying these four verses this week, and giving our insights, thoughts, and applications at Philter48, a forum set up by a couple of brothers in the Lord for this purpose. Everyone is welcome to participate in this ongoing study as we seek to live out what it means to have “every joint supply” (Ephesians 4:16) that which is necessary for the Body.

It is a verse-by-verse study, which can sometimes become tedious, and sometimes bring up things that are not necessarily the main intent of the passage, but always enhances our understanding and experience in the Lord. So, join us, please.

Paul is stuck in prison as he writes this letter. Rather than asking for prayer for his release or safety or any other personal thing at this time, he prays for the saints at Philippi. (For those who do not know how to pronounce that word, I’ll steal a line from Swanny who wrote Fill-A-Pie).

When he prays for the saints at Philippi, I take that as a prayer for me also, and a lesson is contained within the prayer itself.

Paul indicates that the Philippian saints were a manifestation of love when he prays that their love may abound even more.

But, this is not some sort of a fuzzy, touchy-feely kind of love, as we shall see further into the letter. It is a love that is manifested in action. Here, though, the apostle wants their love to abound by increasing in knowledge and judgment.

We can see from this that true agape love does not just accept and tolerate anything and everything that comes along, but is most truly shown by its exercise of discernment. It is a love that knows how to distinguish between good and evil, and between the good and the not-so-good. And that discernment has a purpose: to keep one pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

In other words, it is not enough to just love. It is not enough to just know. It is not enough to distinguish. One must act on love’s discerning knowledge.

That action, that doing what is called for in the moment by reason of a loving awareness, will produce the fruits of righteousness in the believer.

Lest they forget and think that it is by their good efforts, Paul reminds them that it ALL is by Jesus Christ. The love, the knowledge, the discernment, the sincerity, and the blamelessness are all of Him. He provides, leads, and guides; and it is up to me to do. But even the doing is of Him.

When will I ever get to the place where I realize on a moment-by-moment basis that I am nothing without Him? When will I get to the place that I do not secretly long for some sort of recognition?

 

NOTE: For a good read about one who is learning to trust the Lord on a moment-by-moment basis, read This is The Day.

Bible Study Method

I have embarked on a new (for me) method for studying the Bible, and it is (at this time) very exciting for me.
I am intensely studying one book, the Epistle to the Ephesians.

I took the text of the entire epistle and put it into my word processor.
I formatted it with 2-inch margins, double-spaced, and printed it out on only one side of the paper. I then placed all that into a 3-ring binder to use for note-taking during this study.

I read the epistle through a couple of times before beginning the out line of the book. Outlining took me a couple of days to complete. I found it interesting afterwards, when I checked other outlines, to find that no two are alike–not even close!

Each day, before I begin the study, I read the entire epistle in one sitting. Then I go to the section I am working on and begin praying about each verse–often, each word. I do not get very far with this method; but, then, it is not about quantity of consumption.

I make my notes all over the paper and on the blank side of the one facing me. I am basically creating my own commentary for this magnificent treatment on who we are and what we have in Christ.

Maybe I’ll begin posting some of the insights the Lord gives me as I go along.

Blogged Bible Study–John 17

The Lord’s Prayer

In John 17 we have recorded for us the words Jesus used when He prayed the night before He died. While the “Our Father” is popularly called The Lord’s Prayer, it is in reality, a model prayer that Jesus gave in response to the disciples’ question about prayer. John 17 would be more appropriately titled “The Lord’s Prayer.”

This chapter is ordinarily divided into three sections: Jesus’ prayer for Himself (1-5); His prayer for His disciples (6-19); and His prayer for all believers (20-26). I find it instructive to look at the specific requests Jesus made to the Father from the entire chapter.

Glorify your son (1); keep them in your name (11); Keep them from the evil one (15); Sanctify them (17). Everything else is what He wanted as a result of His prayer–unity, joy, sanctification, and love. Unity, of course, is the one most often mentioned in this passage.

Let’s look at the four things Jesus requested.

Jesus prayed for the ‘big picture’ first, and then asked for each of the necessary details in succession of need. In other words, if taken from the last to the first, there is a progression that reveals the unity of the requests.

Sanctify them. Make them separate from the world; different from all others; holy.

In order for that to happen, they must be kept from the evil one. Most texts have ‘one‘ in italics, showing that it is not in the original manuscripts. Therefore, it would read, ‘Keep them from evil.’ Becoming holy is keeping, or being kept from association with evil.

Since I cannot do this in my own strength, I must be kept by the power of God, or, kept in His name.

If I am sanctified by an outward agency, and therefore kept from evil and hidden in His name, then I will glorify the Son.

Don’t we all want to be in the place where we glorify God?

Glory is the magnificence, the splendor, fame, honor, or renown of something. One of its major meanings is ‘reflection.’

This is the time of year when we begin to receive a multitude of catalogs showing us all the things we didn’t know we needed. Those things are presented in a glorious fashion. They are reflected to us in full color on glossy, shiny paper.

We are God’s catalog to the world. The world should be looking at the catalog and thinking, “I really need that!”

Another contributor to this study has pointed out how the world is getting a wrong concept of God, not from us, but from the world and its systems. Shouldn’t the world be getting its concept from us?

If we are the answer to The Lord’s Prayer–if we are God’s catalog of what it looks like to be loved, accepted, unified, and glorified–then what is my part? I am one of the pictures on the page of my neighbor’s catalog of God’s supply.

Do they want to buy?

NOTE: Other writers also contribute to this study on a daily basis. Add this link to your favorites and go there often.

Rest That Satisfies

Mt 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.    NKJV

Where do we go when we are tired from our labors, our jobs, our responsibilities, our distresses? Many of us try to find a few days for vacation, or a few hours of relaxation; or, in severe cases, we crawl under the covers and refuse to come out. Some turn to addicitve behaviors–comfort foods, alcohol, TV.

But, true rest can only come from Jesus.

Jn 15:5
For without me ye can do nothing.       KJV

We cannot even find rest for our soul apart from Him.

This is more than just a ‘salvation’ verse. This was written for believers. Believers too often are burdened with life. They, too, need to find rest for their soul.

Take your care to Him. Tell him how weary you are. Roll all your care onto Him for He cares for you.

Learn to give your care to Jesus before it becomes more than you can bear. Tell Him everything you are concerned about on a daily basis~a moment-by-moment basis. Learn how to take it to the Lord in prayer.

Begin today. Right now. Stop and tell the Lord how tired you are of doing it your way. Then, let it go. See yourself sitting at His feet the way Mary did (Luke 10:38-42).

The dishes will get done. The floors will be swept. The laundry will be put away. The grass will be mowed. The garage will be straightened. The oil will get changed. The house will be painted.

But all this wil be done in rest without struggle if you give it to the Lord first.

How much easier our life would be if we would only learn to commit our way to Him in all things at all times.

(See also https://practicalbibleteaching.wordpress.com/category/daily-word/page/7/