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Praying with an expert

posted 18 Oct 2013, 08:25 by Stephen Childs   [ updated 15 Nov 2013, 06:01 ]
"Measuring Tape" by Ambro
When I was in school, I had a friend who was amazing at soccer. He was captain of the school team, a kind of midfield general who would break forward and score incredible goals. I remember one time he was boxed in way over near the corner flag and somehow managed to bend the ball into the back of the net. I used to just look at him and think - is that even possible? I get a similar feeling sometimes reading Paul's prayers in the Bible. His prayers soar towards heaven while mine don't even feel like they're making it past the ceiling. His prayers seem to echo the heart of God while mine get bogged down with sore knees and teething kids. But if we're trusting in Jesus we know the same God as Paul, and have the same powerful Holy Spirit within us. So we can learn from him and make our prayers more like his. How does he pray? Let's look at Ephesians 3:14-21 (all quotes from NIV).

1. Start with who God is

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. (14-15)

Paul kneels to remind himself how great God is and yet that this powerful God is also the Father who loves him.

2. Pray for change inside

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (16-19)

He's not content just to ask that his friends will have good health, safe travel, and smooth family lives. He wants God to change them deep down, so they experience more and more of the love of Jesus in every situation, and cling to Jesus no matter what happens. There's no limit to how much we can change and learn because the standard is the unmeasurable, unfathomable love of Christ.

3. End with what God is doing

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (20-21)

Can God change people's hearts? Yes, because his power is already at work in all of us who trust in Jesus. Will God change people's hearts? Yes, because he is working out his plan to display the greatness of Jesus through us, and nothing stops God's plan.

Measuring Tape image by Ambro from freedigitalphotos.net