My wife and I began reading the book of Ephesians yesterday – the next book in our daily reading through the New Testament.
In the first chapter, the writer says a few words about how he prays for this group of Christians (in Ephesus, a place in southwest Turkey).
In these few sentences are some valuable lessons about what to pray for, and how.
–He says that, when he prays, he always thanks God for the people to whom he was writing.
–He says that he prays that God will give them a spirit that will make them wise in the knowledge of God.
–He says that he prays that they will have greater understanding in their hearts; then they will know the hope that God has given to them.
–He says that he prays that they will know that the blessings God has promised to his holy people are big and beautiful. (Personal note: I don’t think of blessings as specifically material ones.)
–He says that he prays that this group will know that God’s power is great for those who believe.
I’d guess that Paul also prayed for many other things—their health and obedience to God, and so much more, probably.
But the phrases above, in particular, are what he emphasized in this passage.
So, here are my 6 takeaways:
1) In our prayers, it is important to be thankful for others.
2) It is good to ask God to give people a spirit that makes them wise.
3-4) It is valuable to pray that people will have more understanding; that will help them to know hope from God.
5-6) It is wise to consider the connection between our holiness and God’s blessings on, and God’s power for, us.
May Paul’s prayer be yours today. Here is the text, from Ephesians 1:15-19:
“That is why I always remember you in my prayers and always thank God for you. I have always done this since the time I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people. I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ—to the glorious Father. I pray that he will give you a spirit that will make you wise in the knowledge of God—the knowledge that he has shown you. I pray that you will have greater understanding in your heart. Then you will know the hope that God has chosen to give us. I pray that you will know that the blessings God has promised his holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe.” (Version: ICB)