*(This message was originally written to the people of The Town Church on January 8th)
On December 28th we looked at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. We have received quite a bit of feedback about our time together in that passage (Ephesians 3:14-21). Some have said it was helpful to learn from Paul how to pray for other believers. Others have said they still feel overwhelmed by the idea of praying for others in the ways Paul has modeled.
During our time together in that text I encouraged us to take seriously our prayers for others and to consider making it a resolution for 2015. How is that going?
In an effort to help you in your continued efforts of praying for others, I thought I would give us a few practical tips.
1.) Many of you were out of town on December 28th. If you were out of town and have not yet had a chance to listen to the sermon – start there. Listen to the sermon. You can find it HERE. This particular sermon was on December 28th and is called Learning to Approach, Ask and Adore God(Ephesians 3:14-21).
2.) Secondly, I want to encourage you to put into practice the pattern of prayer we see from Paul in Ephesians 3:14-21.
- Approach God
- Ask God
- Adore God
3.) I’ve talked about an app that has been helpful in my prayers for others. It is called Echo. It is an app specifically designed to help in the habit and discipline of prayer. You can find the app here. Begin using it. Set up reminders at different times throughout the day to pray for others in the church.
4.) I’ve talked to a few people who are already praying for several people using Paul’s example. I’ve talked to a few others who have said that it would be helpful to have a written example of this prayer. Below is a prayer I have written using Paul’s pattern of Approach/Ask/Adore. Feel free to use this as you begin the habit of praying for other believers. There is nothing magical to the following prayer. It is an example to get you started. You can and should pray this in your own words for those you know and love.
As a church, let’s pursue the face of God as we approach him through the Son, as we ask him to answer our prayers and as we adore him because he is worthy of all of our affection, adoration and worship.
SAMPLE PRAYER BASED ON EPHESIANS 3:14-21
APPROACH: Begin by kneeling, closing your eyes, lifting your hands, holding hands with others – proceed with some kind of action that reveals a mindful approach to God.
Father, I approach you knowing that you have blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. You have chosen us before the foundation of the world. You have predestined us for adoption. You have redeemed us through the blood of your Son. You have forgiven our sins. You are our Father who loves us in ways we will never fully understand. You know me by name. You know the names of everyone you have adopted to be a part of your family. Father, I approach you knowing these things to be fully true of you.
ASK: It is because you are a loving Father that I can ask you according to the riches of your glory that you would strengthen ________ with power through your Spirit. Specifically Father, I ask that you would strengthen _______ internally. Would you help them to understand more and more the truths of the gospel. Would you help them to understand more and more the depths of their sin and their need for Jesus. Would you help them to apply that internally to their hearts. Father, I ask that you would strengthen _________ internally.
Father, I also ask that you would increase the faith of _______ and that they would experience Christ’s dwelling presence as they walk with you today. I ask that you would help them to believe that Christ came to dwell among us – and that when he ascended to take his throne, he left the Spirit to indwell us. Father, I ask that they would sense the indwelling presence of Christ today.
Father, I also ask that you would help _______ to understand the multi-faceted love of Jesus. Help them to understand the limitless love of Jesus – the love that caused him to give his life as a ransom for our sins. Would you help them to understand more and more the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ. Even as you help them to comprehend Christ’s love, I ask that you would help them to understand that the limitless love of Christ surpasses their limited knowledge. It’s beyond our comprehension. Father, I ask that you would cause that understanding to increase their affections for Jesus. I ask that you would guard them from frustration and doubt about the fact that Christ’s love surpasses knowledge. Increase their affections and adoration for Jesus.
Finally Father, I ask that you would fill _______ with all the fullness of yourself. Fill them with greater thoughts of you. Fill them with a greater desire to see more of you and be filled with your presence.
ADORE: And now Father, I offer up these prayers to you knowing that you are able to do far more than anything I could ask or even think to ask. I’m sure there is more I could pray. I’m sure there is more I could ask of you. You are able to do far more abundantly than anything I could ask of you for ________. You are the one who has given us power to accomplish the things you have set before us to accomplish. You are the one who has given us power to be strengthened internally, to know the love of Christ and to understand that the love of Christ surpasses our understanding. You are the one who has given us this power.
It is to you alone that glory is due in the church. You alone are the one who is to be glorified in the body you have called, chosen, predestined and redeemed. You are most glorious in the church and in Christ Jesus your Son.
You are to be praised, honored, glorified, worshipped adored yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever and ever throughout all eternity.