Pray Big: Kneel to the Father

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14-15)

Most of the Christians I know, including me, have a prayer problem. Not only is prayer hard work and easy to skip, we’re often only half-convinced that it even matters. We believe God hears and answers prayer, generally speaking; we’re just not sure sometimes that our prayers are worth putting out there.

pb_350Sound harsh? If you and I really believed we were talking to the God of the universe – the God with unlimited power and unlimited patience and love and forgiveness for us in Christ – how often would we talk to him?

Our small faith leads to small prayers. When we do pray, we usually ask for little things that have to do with money and health and travel and relationships. Yes, God cares about all of those things with us, but we can also pray much, much bigger.

This week, we’re going to try to “kneel to the Father” along with Paul and copycat his giant prayers for his Ephesian readers. What he asks God for is, frankly, a little startling. I hope we’re not afraid to ask the same things for ourselves and those we care most about.

Think: Do you think it matters what position your body is in when you pray? Why do you think Paul made a point to say he kneels when praying here? How does kneeling or bowing or closing our eyes help us to pray more meaningfully?

Pray: Ask God to help you to approach him respectfully when you pray and to be glad to call him Father.

Do: Paul offers another great-to-copy prayer for the Ephesians in 1:15-23. Check it out.

Pray Big: Ask for Power

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:16)

When my son was about five, he went through a phase where he was continually impressed by how powerful I was. He would try his hardest to pick up a heavy box without being able to budge it. Then I would scoop it up without even grunting (much), and he’d look at me and say, “Whoa, dad, you’re really strong.”

pb_350It was awesome, but it didn’t last too long. He kept growing and getting stronger. I didn’t. He eventually started to catch on to the fact that his dad’s strength is only about average for a man. He’s learning that he is strong enough to handle some pretty big boxes on his own.

I’ve notice the same thing has happened in reverse in my relationship with God as my Father. When I started out, I was pretty sure I could handle anything. I trusted my own strength, and I thought maybe God would be impressed with my self-reliance. He wasn’t.

What God wants from me most is to catch on to the fact that I only have average strength for a man – which makes me far, far too weak to handle what he has planned for me. He wants me to catch on to the fact that to accomplish anything truly meaningful, I’m going to need his strength.

We’re talking about big prayers this week, and what Paul asks today is a doozy. He knows God has an unlimited bank account of “power,” and he asks God to take some of “that” power – limitless God power – and to install it in the “inner being” of the Ephesians.

How often do you ask God to put His “whoa, dad” power in you or in someone else’s inner being? That’s a big prayer.

Think: How strong are we in our inner being – in our hearts and minds and souls – when compared to God? Would you say you are impressed with his power? Would you say that you need his power to do anything worthwhile?

Pray: Pick another Christian you know. Ask God to do this for both of you, to “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Do: Read David’s prayer to see the impressive power of God in Psalm 68:28.

Pray Big: Heart Home

“. . . so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love . . .” (Ephesians 3:17)

Yes, today’s verse is basically a couple of sentence fragments – but both fragments contain huge ideas to pray about.

pb_350The first has to do with what we need God’s power for: to keep Christ “dwelling” in our hearts. Don’t panic: This is not talking about keeping our salvation; Paul teaches over and over again that God doesn’t “lose” His children.

Paul’s prayer here has to do with asking God to give his readers the power to keep Christ the first priority in their lives – making him “at home” in the very center of their hearts.

The second idea is this: While Christ lives in our hearts, we live – like plants in dirt with a deep, established root system – in God’s love. Tomorrow we’ll see why we need those deep roots in his love.

Think: How have you been doing at demonstrating your trust in God by keeping Christ the first priority in your life, making your heart his home? Do you need more of God’s power to be able to do that? Do you believe God can give you the power to do that?

Pray: Ask God to strengthen you with his power so Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.

Do: Ask someone who prays for you what kinds of things they pray for you – and what they might like you to pray for them.