Praying . . . we would, I believe, like to do it effectively, would we not? We would desire, I would think, that our prayers be substantive, would we not? Note, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, the content of Paul’s prayer for the believers he is writing to,
- “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:15-19 – NASB)
Paul’s loving words to his fellow “saints” in Ephesus were to remind them of what God had done for them in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-14), and then to let them know that “having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which (existed) among” them “and their “love for all the saints,” he never “ceased giving thanks for them” within his “mentioning of” them in his “prayers.”
And within his “prayers” there was not only a “mentioning” of them but also specific Spirit-led things that Paul prayed for them. And this is just one of the examples we have from God’s Word of how to pray for one another. This is, as one writer has noted, a “God-centered prayer.” In other words, how God would have us pray for one another . . . it is Scriptural content for effectual praying!
Note its content,
- “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”
- “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling”
- “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know . . . what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints’
- “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know . . . what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
Do we pray this way, in this manner, for these things for our fellow “saints?” Do we even really understand what it is the Spirit of God is conveying to us through Paul’s “prayers?” Do we even look into them and meditate upon them and dissect them and seek to learn of their meaning so that we might, with understanding, pray as Paul prayed?
Author Jerry Bridges, in his book Respectable Sins, asks a most appropriate question regarding our prayer lives,
- “How does Paul’s prayer . . . compare with our prayers for ourselves, our families, and our friends? Do our prayers reflect a concern for God’s will and God’s glory . . . Or are our prayers more a do-list we present to God?”
Effectual praying comes with a diligent study of the Scriptures. From them we learn to pray. From them we learn to pray for that which God would have us pray for one another. We involve ourselves in the learning process so that we may understand the very content of Scriptural prayers with the intent that we might effectively pray as God intends for us to pray. And take note regarding effectual praying . . . when we pray as God intends for us to pray then we are becoming more and more like He wants us to be . . . . like His Son (Romans 8:28-29).
Have a good day brethren . . . and in your walk pray! And then take some time to examine your prayers against the backdrop of the Scriptures and how they instruct us to pray.
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