Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians

Temple Baptist Church - 6-30-2010

Ephesians 1:15-23


A. The Apostle Paul ends up the first chapter of Ephesians with an explanation to the church as to how he prays for them. I believe that it is important for the man of God to faithfully pray for those whom God has given to him.

B. Prayer has so many aspects that we will not deal with all of them tonight but I do want to look at what the Holy Spirit penned down for us concerning the prayer for the church by God’s man.

C. I find it most interesting to note what the Apostle Paul did not pray for in this chapter. Normally, you and I spend much more time praying for temporal things than we do eternal ones. Do not misunderstand me because we are to pray for the temporal also.

1. We pray for our temporal needs such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. You have not because you ask not and God wants us to pray for our “daily bread!” There is nothing wrong with that prayer.

2. We pray for our personal circumstances. At times, we find ourselves in a “fix” as concerning our present or near future problems. We prepare to meet these challenges but also realize that “safety is of the Lord.” We need for God to “turn the hearts” of the kings whithersoever He wills. God can work in hearts and do what we cannot.

3. We pray for the forgiveness of our sins and the sins of others. It is of no little interest how many times in the Bible that men of God confessed not only their own personal sins but also the sins of others. Job pray and sacrificed for his children just in case they had sinned. Nehemiah and others confessed both their sins and the sins of others.

D. In all of Paul’s prayers for the churches, not once does he pray for their material things. He does not pray that they prosper financially. His prayer for God’s people is that they prosper spiritually.

E. God has already promised to meet our needs. Seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness brings about “and all these things shall be added unto you.” I want to look at this particular prayer tonight for a few minutes to help both you and me.

1. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was one of Thanksgiving. Vs. 16.

Philippians 1:3-5 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (4) Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, (5) For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

a. Pastors need to learn to be thankful for the “sheep” that God has given to them to watch over. It is easy to fret over those who have left and pray for God to add new people to the church while making little over those who have stayed faithfully be the stuff. People who love you, people who pray for you, people who labor with you, people who suffer with you, and people who are the dearest friends on this earth to you!

b. I want people to stay; I want people added; but I remember sitting on the porch shortly after we came here and telling Barbara that if we went to heaven with just the people that we had at that time, it would be wonderful. I thank God for you! Paul was thankful for the believers at Ephesus.

2. Paul prayer for the Ephesians was one for Knowledge. Vs. 17.

2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

a. The Christian life is one of learning to walk with the Lord. It is easy to walk with Him in the good times and, Oh how sweet it is! It is also learning to walk with Him in the hard times, in the dark times when He seems so far away, in the confused times when you do not understand, when you have been hurt and persecuted for right.

b. The Christian life is one of learning to trust when you cannot see, pray when you do not know how, and be faithful when your every instinct is to throw up your hands and quit.

c. Paul wanted them to get to know the Lord that he had learned to know. Life is a learning experience where tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, and experience hope!

3. Paul prayer for the Ephesians was one for Understanding. Vs. 18.

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

a. To understand a Place - Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

b. To understand a Prize - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

c. To understand a Power - Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (A power far greater than all of our difficulties and circumstances, a power far greater than all of our temporal needs.)

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