Friday, September 30, 2011

Praying along with the Apostles

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Ephesians 3:16-19  

(I pray) that He would grant you, 
according to the riches of His glory, 
to be strengthened with power 
through His Spirit in the inner man, 
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts 
through faith; and that you, being 
rooted and grounded in love, 
may be able to comprehend 
with all the saints what is the breadth 
and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ 
which surpasses knowledge, 
that you may be filled up 
to all the fullness of God.  –


One of the ways I like to pray is using the prayers prayed in the Bible as a model. This one in Ephesians was prayed for a church and you could pray it for your church. You could also adapt it to pray for family as a whole or for individuals that come to mind. You could even pray it for yourself. I wanted to break it down and show you some of the things that jump out to me as I read it. You might see other things that I have missed but it should get you started.

(I pray) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory
Have you considered the riches of His glory and how much is at our disposal through faith in Christ. I pray that you might be made aware of the gifts of His provision that you may have over looked, or not realized were available to you. I pray that the Holy Spirit would lead you as you read the Word to discover the riches of His glory.

To be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man
Strengthened in the original Greek means "to empower, to increase in vigor, and to be strong" It is not our own strength that we need it is the power of His Spirit working in our inner person. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not an "it" or even a wind or a force. When Jesus was taken up to heaven He said He would send the Holy Spirit. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit helps us become strong in part by helping us understand the Word. The Holy Spirit also gives us gifts to help empower us for ministry and to accomplish Gods plans and purposes for our lives. The Holy Spirit does not just come and take over but waits for your invitation.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
It is though faith that Christ dwells in our hearts. It is not because we are worthy or deserving. The theif on the cross next to Jesus was never baptized, never made things right with the folks he had wronged. He never walked down to the front of a church to publicly confess His faith. He never did the things that most of us equate with "Being Saved". He simply believed in that moment that Jesus was who He said He was. He recognized Him as King of kings and asked to be remembered by Jesus when He came into His kingdom.  I pray that you might allow Christ to dwell in your heart through faith.  

 To be rooted and grounded in love 
I like to think of a tree that has roots that go deep into the ground to find water. The Lord wants us to be rooted and grounded in His love. When the storms beat against that tree with deep roots it may bend and sway but it is grounded and will not be up rooted or moved from its place. Our lives are full of storms and trials we are much more likely to get through those storms when we are secure in how much we are loved by the Lord.  I pray that you would be rooted and grounded in love.

To be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth 
and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ 
Can you even begin to grasp the greatness of the love of Christ. This is a prayer that would cause us to grow deeper in love with Jesus. I pray that the Lord would help us really understand His love for us. Help us to comprehend the power of His love to transform us to become more and more like Christ.
 
To be filled up to all the fullness of God
I pray that you would be filled up with all the fullness of God. That you would have everything you need to do everything He has called you to do. The more we realize how much He loves us the more we are able to love and trust the Lord. 

 Well I hope that you will allow the Holy Spirit to lead you as you pray through these verses. 

Prayer
Dear Lord, 
Open up your Word to us and lead us as we pray along with the Apostles and use the prayers of the Bible as a model for our own prayers. 



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