May 8 – Praying like Paul

May 8, 2019 Randy Bushey

~ by Randy Bushey

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better (Ephesians 1:17).

When we visited the ruins of Ephesus – one of the most heavily excavated ancient cities in the Mediterranean world – I had a peculiar sense of having walked exactly where Paul walked…and Timothy, and Luke, and John, and other New Testament characters (including Priscilla and Aquila, and Apollos) whose ministries all occasioned them to visit this commercial port city.

The excavated ruins are a favourite tourist spot and the archaeological site is massive, covering 500 acres. Only 10% of the city had been excavated when we were there in 2005, but the imposing arches and columns, the marble-paved agora, the multi-storey library façade, and the temple to Artemis all spoke to the grandeur and dignity of the original city.

But it was at the unearthed structure of the ancient Jewish synagogue that I imagined my feet standing in sand precisely where the Apostle would have preached almost 2000 years ago. This worship centre was visited frequently by Paul and Timothy according to the historical record in Acts 19:8.

One of my favorite memories: standing with 33 other Canadians on the stage of the excavated open-air theatre – seating capacity: 24,000 – and passionately singing O Canada for all to hear…whether they wanted to, or not.

But when Paul wrote to these believers, his mood was not one of patriotism or sentimentality.

Paul was a prisoner of Caesar.

He knew the believers well – he’d spent 3 years shepherding and teaching the Ephesian flock; but now he was 5 years and 2300 km away, writing this epistle in the harsh environment of a cell in Rome.

And yet in this unforgiving context, Paul was diligent in praying for their spiritual health (Ephesians 1:17-19).

Notice what this prayer demonstrates – just in verse 17:

1)Paul was persistent in interceding on the behalf of the Ephesian Christ-followers: I keep asking…

2) he clearly evidences the Trinity as he prays: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit…

3) in his prayer, Paul petitions the Holy Spirit to provide to these believers wisdom and revelation…

4) and his ultimate prayer purpose, was that the Christ-followers would know the Savior more deeply, more intensely, and with greater familiarity and love: so that you may know him better.

Then the Apostle goes on in the next 2 verses to interceded for his Ephesian friends: he implores of the Lord for spiritual perception, that they’d experience a sense of hope and a growing realization of their rich inheritance in Christ, and that God’s incomparable power – resurrection power – would continue to work in their lives, relationships and their church.

I believe the Lord loves to hear His people pray to Him using prayers already recorded in His inspired Word, the Bible.

Takeaway: This is a prayer you could pray! Do you ever lament not knowing what to pray for, for those you love best? The Apostle Paul supplies an epic framework.

 

…this post edited from original entry in January 2018.

~graphic by Pat Bushey at Ephesus.