Anyone who is having troubles should pray. ... When a believing person prays, great things happen. -James 5:13,16 NCV

The Fullness of God

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

The last four words of this prayer remind me of this passage:
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
When we ask Jesus to come into our lives we are asking Him to fill us with the fullness of God. We need to ask for His filling each day because.. as the cliche goes.. we leak.

We ask You Holy Father to fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit.. we long to live lives filled with Your goodness, lover and compassion. Come Lord Jesus.. we surrender to You.

Amen


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Knowing the Love of Christ

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-18)

As Paul wraps up this prayer he speaks of knowing Christ's love. It makes me wonder if you can ever know the love of another if you do not know them personally. Many suffer in childhood with warped views of parental love because of what they know about the parenst. Paul describes this heavenly love as one that has breadth and length and height and depth. He describes it as love that surpasses knowledge.. in a sense Gods love can only be known by the heart.. it cannot truly be understood with the head. To know this love one must know Christ personally.

Heavenly Father, we come to you with open hearts.. we long to know You more.. and to know the love of Your Son. Lord have mercy on us.. draw our hearts to Your heart.

Amen


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Praying for Stength to Love

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-18)

I love the way this prayer begins to end with Paul asking God for strength to comprehend the love of Christ. Here is the way that the Greek is translated:
exischuō: to have full strength, that is, be entirely competent; be able.
I think that it takes spiritual strength to comprehend God's love. Sacrificial love simply does not make sense to our minds.. especially when the sacrifice is for the sake of an enemy. I think this is why we need spiritual strength to comprehend this kind of love.

Father we ask you to open our eyes to the pain of our enemies and give us strength to comprehend Your love for them. Give us hearts of compassion for them.

Amen


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Groundbreaking Love

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Ephesians 3:14-17)

Continuing my thoughts on this great scripture passage on prayer.. I loved the picture of what it looks like to have Christ in our hearts.. a picture of love that has taken root.. and once rooted this love breaks ground and people begin to see its fruit.

Father, we need your help.. please water the soil of our hearts that love might grow and break forth into fruitful loving behavior and attitudes. We submit our hearts to you.

Amen


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Inner Power

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:14-16)

Continuing my thoughts on this great scripture passage on prayer, I want to answer this question: What does it means to have power in your inner being?" Firstly, I think that it is good to realize that life is all about the battle of the inner and outer being.. the way we lead our life is dependent on which being is stronger. If the inner being is stronger then life will be lived from the inside out.. if not then our fleshly desires will exert it's strength and rule us. So when we pray to be strengthened with power in our inner being we are asking God for strength to live from the inside out.

God of all power we confess that we are weak apart from your presence in our lives. We ask you to strengthen our hearts.. come Holy Spirit and bring power to our inner being that we may follow you in the path that leads to life.

Amen


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Inexhaustible Grace

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:14-16)

Continuing my thoughts on this great scripture passage on prayer, I want to focus on "riches of his glory". Adam Clarke comments this way: "According to the measure of his own eternal fullness". Albert Barnes says this: "The word “riches,” so often used by Paul, denotes “abundance,” and the idea here is, that his grace was inexhaustible and ample for all their needs." It encourages me to know that there is no end to God's ability to help me.. to shower me with drenching grace.. to meet my every need.

We praise you Father! We acknowledge and are thankful for your inexhaustible and amazing grace. Cause us to be bearers of Your mercy and grace today as we interact with others. In your beautiful name we pray.

Amen


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Father of Fathers

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, (Ephesians 3:14-15)

Continuing my thoughts on this great scripture passage on prayer.. I came across this footnote:
Or fatherhood; the Greek word patria is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14
Paul seems to be speaking about God the Creator and Father of all things. A great thought when we approach prayer. Remembering that God is the Creator helps us to take the lid off our prayers.. He is a miracle working God.. nothing is too difficult for Him.. He fathered or created everything.

We confess You as Father today.. we acknowledge that You created all and by You all things exist. Open the eyes of hearts to see that all things are possible and nothing is too difficult for You.

Amen


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Kneeling Prayer

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (Ephesians 3:14)

This is the beginning of a great scripture passage on prayer. It begins by speaking to the posture of prayer. Ever wonder where the tradition of kneeling in prayer comes from? Here is an explanation I like:
One thought about the origin of kneeling to pray comes from the practice of kneeling before a king in petition for a request. This tradition was a symbol of humbleness and honor when coming before a king or ruler. In recognition and honor to God, it may have been the appropriate position to come before Him.
The heart of kneeling prayer is not really the outer posture but the inner one. We bow our hearts in submission and humility when we pray.. as we speak to our King.

We bow our hearts to you today dear King.. we recognize that it is the will of our sovereign Lord that is all important.. we submit to your will and your plans for us. Have your way Father in our lives.

Amen


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Hallowed Be Your Name

This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (Matthew 6:9)

I cannot hear the words "hallowed be your name" without flashing back to a worship song that I used to sing.. I guess worship is a great way.. maybe the only way.. to begin prayer. It reminds me of how the psalmist tells us to enter His courts with praise. It is necessary to have a worshipful heart when we pray. When we pray with a heart overflowing with praise our prayers often look very different. Let's take a cue from the Psalmist and pray this passage:

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
..with all my inmost being I praise Your holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
..I do not forget not all Your benefits-
..You forgive all my sins and heals all my diseases,
..You redeem my life from the pit
..You crown me with love and compassion,
..You satisfy my desires with good things
..so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Amen


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Wisdom for our New President

Today Barack Obama is sworn into the office of the president of the United States on the same bible that Abraham Lincoln used for that same purpose. Leaders of nations all have a beginning.. here is the way that King Solomon prayed at the beginning of his reign.

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him,
"Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
Solomon answered God,
"You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
Please join me in asking our Father to grant Barack Obama wisdom and knowledge that he may lead and govern our nation in a manner pleasing to God.


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Our Father

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven.. (Matthew 6:9a)

I find it helpful to remember that, although I consider God to be my heavenly Father, He is our Father.. there is a universality to His Fatherhood.. when we pray we, in a sense, join our prayers with countless others. When God considers our prayers He mixes them in with many others and answers them according to His will for each of us. It is mind boggling but comforting to know that His answer to us of "no" may mean a "yes" to someone else.

We join our prayers with others today Dear Father asking that you would join us together in unity.. loving You and loving each other.. remembering that you are God of all.. thankful that you are God Almighty. We praise You.

Amen


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Inviting Prayer

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)

This is the last of my thoughts on these four verses. I am blown away by the way Jesus wraps this up.. He seems to be saying that the idea of prayer is not really the effective communication of our prayers but simply the exercise of our wills in prayer. He says that God already knows what you need indicating that God is waiting for us to simply pray.. to simply invite Him to help us. This is so different.. it has the potential to revolutionize the way we pray.

We invite You Father to come into our lives.. we believe that You are the answer to our needs.. we thank you that You care about our needs. Come Holy Spirit.

Amen


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Secret Prayer

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)

I once heard that the measure of a person is what they do when no one is looking. When everything else is stripped away we will pray in secret only if we really believe that God hears us. In a sense all other types of prayers can be rationalized away.. all other forms of prayer can be done for reasons outside of faith. Secret prayers bring a reality to bear where it is just us and God.. face to face.

Lord we ask you for help to pray in secret.. give us to grace to pray when no one is around. We ask you to reward these prayers with a revelation of Yourself and Your will to us. We ask you to speak to us in a way that we understand.

Amen


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The Seduction of Public Prayers

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)

Praying to be seen and heard by men.. I have witnessed.. and participated in.. this kind of religious seduction that engages the darkest part of us. The desire to be seen is an insidious one.. many are duped by the enemy thinking that they are being "spiritual" when they are just being Pharisaical. Jesus says don't do it. If you find yourself praying in public just pray from your heart.. and keep it real.. pray to that audience of One.

Father, we confess our religious pride to you. Give us true hearts to pray.. and keep us from the temptation of needing to be seen by men.

Amen


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Hypocritical Prayer

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)

Today I continue my thinkings on this passage by asking: What it is like to pray like a hypocrite? I think that praying in this way means to pray superficial prayers.. prayers that do not engage your innermost being.. prayers that simply regurgitate platitudes and cliches.. sadly.. I have prayed these kinds of prayers. I am reminded of this passage from the gospels.. join with in praying as you read it.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)

Amen


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When You Pray

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)

Thought I'd take a few days and speak to these four verses. Today I want to speak to the idea that believers pray.. it is in our spiritual DNA. Before I gave my heart to the Lord I never prayed.. never though of it.. even though my first wife went blind in her early twenties. Today it seems that my life is a living prayer.. I seem to talk to Him about everything.. I have a heart to pray.

Father I ask you to remove all of the hindrances to prayer that we have.. take down our pride.. cause us to be people who pray.. help us.. draw us to you.. give us hearts that pray.

Amen


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Spiritual Growth Prayer

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6)

There is a symbiotic relationship in spiritual growth.. we plant spiritual seeds by seeking the Lord and God causes spiritual growth. I love that the apostle says that he is confident that God will complete the work that He started in our lives because it creates an atmosphere of grace around spiritual growth.

Thank you Father that You ARE working in us.. you ARE causing us to grow.. You ARE conforming us into the image of Your Son. Help us to be sensitive to Your presence in our lives that we would cooperative children.

Amen


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Salvation Intercession

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

Nothing moves our hearts as much as when we pray for the people we love.. and these prayers seem doubly moving when they deal with our loved ones relationship with God. I think that we pray this way because we know from experience that a relationship with God will help our loved ones in the way that we have been helped.

Father, I am reminded that salvation has a beginning.. and sometimes a renewed beginning.. a second chance. I ask that my loved ones and will be granted a new beginning.. even a second or third chance. Woo them to You Lord.. show them Your goodness.. the kind that will lead them to repent. I commit them to You and to Your love.

Amen


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Self-Control Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

A few years ago I said this in a post about control:
Self Control is not mind control ... actually it is the opposite of mind control. Self Control is the exercise of the inner man over the outer man.
It is a fitting conclusion to this list of spiritual fruit. It represents the way that character is manifested - from the inside out.

We ask you dear Heavenly Father to grant grace to us that the Holy Spirit would cause our hearts to come alive and put to death the deeds of the flesh. In Your name and for Your sake we pray.

Amen


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Gentleness Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness.. (Galatians 5:22-23a)

The word gentleness is translated from the Greek word Πραοτης which can also be translated meekness or mildness.. the word communicates:
  • an indulgence toward the weak and erring, 
  • patient suffering of injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge, 
  • an even balance of all tempers and passions, 
  • the entire opposite to anger.
I am not sure how to pray this word.. it is such a powerful one.  I will simply pray this - come Holy Spirit and rain down gentleness on us.. help us to be gentle when we interact with people.. change us and manifest Yourself through us in gentleness.

Amen


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Faithfulness Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.. (Galatians 5:22)

When I think about God I often think of this - He is faithful. Hence it is no surprise that faithfulness makes this list.. it is the heart of our relationship with God.. it is an extension of the word faith.. and it is what I think James is speaking to when he say faith without works is dead.. faith without faithfulness is not faith at all.

We confess our faithlessness apart from the Holy Spirit in our life Lord.. like Mother Teresa we do not pray for success, we ask for faithfulness.. faithfulness in the small matters of our lives as well as the large.

Amen


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Goodness Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness.. (Galatians 5:22a)

Ever wonder what it means to be "good'? The scriptures have much to say about God being good but not that much about us being good. Here is the definition of from Easton's Dictionary:
Goodness in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.
I think this speaks to our ability, through His Spirit, to actively walk out God's goodness in our hearts.

Thank you for giving us the ability to demonstrate your goodness Father. Please bestow grace on us today to manifest Your Goodness in the world.

Amen


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Kindness Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness.. (Galatians 5:22a)

A few verses come to mind when I think about kindness. The first is the one that says that the kindness of God leads me to repent. The second is the verse in Proverbs (19:22) that says it is desirable for a person to be kind. I think that we offer mirror the heart and love of God when we are kind.

I confess my judgmentalism to you Father.. very often I am unkind to those who need your kindness the most.. forgive me for the way I judge those closest to me.. and give me your grace to accept people and be kind to them.

Amen


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Patient Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.. (Galatians 5:22a)

Continuing about praying the spiritual character of the Spirit I arrive at patience. It brings to mind this lighthearted prayer: God give me patience and give it to me now. I think that when we pray for patience we are really praying for endurance.. asking God for grace to wait on Him.

God grant us a heart to endure.. a heart to seek after You.. to wait on You. We ask for help to be still and KNOW that you are God.

Amen


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Peace Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.. (Galatians 5:22a)

Continuing about praying the spiritual character of the Spirit we come to peace this morning. I find that peace only comes when I quiet my mind.. even my prayers seem to be expressions of worry when my mind is engaged. Philippians 4:6-7 speaks to the type of prayer that brings peace.. read it if you get a minute.. in essence it says:
If you pray.. why worry? If you worry.. why pray?
I think that peace comes when we are trusting God in prayer in our heart.

In the spirit of 1Peter 5:7 we cast our cares on you dear Father.. you care about our worries and fears.. you have invited us to bring our burdens to you and you would give us an easy yoke.. with all our hearts we bring our cares to you.. and we thank you for the peace that you so generously give.

Amen


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Joy Prayer

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy.. (Galatians 5:22a)

Continuing my thoughts about praying the spiritual character of the Spirit I land upon joy this morning. I am reminded how the scripture speaks of sorrow being turned into joy.. and of how the joy of the Lord is our strength. Life is hard and can often suck the joy out of us.. we need to pray it back.

Father, the scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord will return with rejoicing and sorrow and mourning will flee. We return to you today Lord.. fill our hearts with joy.. replace sorrow with joy.. cause rejoicing to spring forth in our hearts.

Amen


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Love Prayer

The fruit of the Spirit is love.. (Galatians 5:22a)

I thought that I would begin this new year asking God to impart a bit of Himself to us.. one fruit at a time :) 1Corinthians 13 gives us a structure to form our prayer:

Father, we ask you for love that is not loud and brash.. grant us love that is patient and kind.. love that does not envy or boast.. love that is not proud, rude, self-seeking or easily anger.. grant us love that readily forgives.. love that rejoices with truth and not evil.. please give us love that trusts, protects, hopes and perseveres.. give us unfailing love.

Amen


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