The Family Memo: June 2, 2017
Info: upcoming events
Vacation Bible School:
Dates; June 5-9
Time; 9 am to Noon
Theme; “Maker Fun Factory- Created by God, Built for a Purpose”
Register your children ONLINE!
Dates; June 12-15
Departing @ 8:00 AM
Balances are Past Due.
D3 Youth Conference:
Conference Dates; June 19-22
If you have not done so, please go online to fill out the Medical Release.
Departing @ 5:30 AM
Balances are Past Due.
CEF Community Service Week:
What: Bible Clubs for children @ East YMCA, King Hill Community Center, and Hopper Gardens.
When; July 17-21
You can still get certified to serve! Please see Teree Solomon, or Reid Ward.
- Student-Family Cookout – July 26
- Fuel Praise Team Workshop – July 27
- Awana Leader Training – August 2
- Sunday School Teacher Training – August 6
- M4: PromotionRetreat – August 5
- Fuel/Awana Restart – August 9
- Promotion Sunday – August 13
- Global Missions Conference – September 10-13
- Thanksgiving Service Project – November 18
- Student Christmas Party – December 9
- Senior Retreat – 1/20/2018
- Disciple Now – 2/16-18-2018
Prayers of Paul: Object of Prayer
Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-21
May 31, 2017
In the idea that prayer is both one of the foundational means of knowing God, and one of the basic demonstrations that we do know God, there is a clear implication that any trouble we have in praying as we ought has to do with an idolatry in our life of prayer; placing the good thing (the thing for which we pray) in the place of the best thing (the object to which we pray), God. Prayerful idolatry happens when the thing being pursued becomes the object, rather than God being the object for which we pursue the thing. This week we find the crowing jewel of Paul’s prayers, in which he points us toward praying for experiential knowledge of God.
The opening of the letter is brief, because of his close familiarity with the Ephesians. It is in Ephesus that he had taken the critical and momentous step of separating the disciples from the Synagogue. At the same time, we can gather that the letter was also intended to circulate more generally.
In Paul’s original greek, Ephesians 1:3-14 form one long sentence, therefore, it might be helpful to summarize the sentence in order to get a grasp of what he is saying.
God is to be the object of our praise; for who he is, the God and the Father of Jesus, for what he has done, graciously blessing us with every spiritual blessings, for how he has done it.
Adoption; predestining us to adoption as sons by Christ to Himself, choosing us to be holy and blameless, according to the good pleasure of His will, and to the praise of the glory of His grace; so that, in Jesus, we have redemption through his blood, we have obtained an inheritance, and you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
It is for this reality of God’s grace in their lives that Paul will begin his prayer by giving thanks to God.
II. Prayer for Spiritual Knowledge: 15-23
We see immediately in the context here that it is not simply the evidence, or fruit, of grace in the lives of those for whom Paul prays, but the objective reality of God’s work in them, that is the basis of Paul’s prayer. The means by which this happens is explicitly given in 18a.
“The word ‘heart’ in Scripture signifies the very core and centre of life, where the intelligence has its post of observation, where the stores of experience are laid up, and the thoughts have their fountain.” Henry Alford
Paul asks that God would give them them spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that they might know by experience; having the eyes of the heart illuminated with clear views in order to know three distinct things; three things we have seen already in the three “In Him” statements of 7, 11, & 13.
A. Redemption – the hope to which he has called you,
Redemption is the hope of our calling, and always implies a price being paid for the freedom that is purchased. Our hope is that in Christ we have redemption and nowhere else. There is no hope, no possible redemption outside of Jesus and His redeeming blood.
B. Inheritance – the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Our inheritance is Christ himself, but here, Paul wants us to experience the greatness of God’s inheritance in His people. There is a communal value here, even in the midst of our individual salvation, we are viewed as part of the rices of the Lord’s potion. (Deuteronomy 32:8-9)
C. Spirit of Promise – the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives acts as a seal which indicates ownership, and which is a guarantee of our inheritance. Christians should know they serve and love a God of living power who shows His strength on behalf of His people. Most Christians only know this power as a notion or idea, maybe as a fact, but Paul prays that God would make the power of this resurrection life real in the life of the believer.
Paul asked these things because they were important to ask for. If Paul believed it was important to pray these things for the Ephesian Christians, it is important for us to pray them for others – and ourselves.
Again, are we making a habit of praying that God would grant our brothers and sisters in Christ spiritual wisdom and spiritual sight?
III. Prayer for Spiritual Light:
Now, chapter 2 is essentially and explanation of this salvation by grace through faith;
The need and process of reconciliation – 1-10
The adoption of the Gentiles into the inheritance of the Jews – 11-16
The unity of the Spirit – 17-21
Therefore, when we get to chapter 3, Paul begins to express that this is why he prays for them. After a brief diversion into the stewardship of the message of the gospel that Paul had been given for their sakes, he takes up the cause for his prayerfulness. (14)
The basis of Paul’s prayer was his knowledge of God’s purpose; this means he confidently prayed according to God’s will, as had been reveled. Therefore, we can not pray effectively if we do not have insight into God’s purpose and will, as reveled in his word.
Are our prayers characterized by an understanding of the will and purpose of God?
Paul prayed in the posture of utmost humility, bowing his knees. This position of was in contrast to the more normal posture of prayer in that culture, to pray standing with hands raised up. This humility comes when we see God as the object of our prayers, rather than ourselves, or the things being pursued. Paul rightly directed his prayer to the Father, through the Son, by the empowering and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Are our prayers characterized by a posture of humility that comes from having God as our object?
In remembering that all God’s family is called after His name, Paul showed that his mind was rather taken with this idea of the essential unity of the Body of Christ, the unity of all things as coming from God.
Are our prayers characterized by a sense of the essential unity of our brothers and sisters in the family of God?
In verse 16-19, Paul actually prays again for the Ephesians, asking that they would be strengthened with might, and that the strength would come through the Holy Spirit, and that it would be put into their inner man.
He prays for their strengthening, not for its own sake, but for a purpose. Paul asked that Jesus would make a home in these believers, even as Jesus promised in John 14:23. The glory of the indwelling Jesus is something for us to know by faith.
Do we pray, asking for spiritual strength for ourselves and one another?
We need spiritual strength for Christ to dwell within us, because there is something in us that resists the influence of the indwelling Jesus. That something can be conquered as the Spirit of God strengthens us by faith.
Do we pray that Christ may dwell in us?
This too has a deeper aim; that we may have strength to comprehend together all the dimensions of the love of God. This comprehension is the result of experiential knowledge, and results in being filled with all the fullness of God. We only understand the multi-dimensional love of God by experiencing his love in the many dimensions of our lives. (4:11-16)
Do we pray so that we might comprehend experientially the multi-dimensional love of God?
Do we pray so that we might be filled up to our capacity with Jesus?
The result of Paul’s Prayer is worship. (20-21) Paul’s prayer is worshipful, and his pursuit in prayer is bound up with praising God. This doxology does not only belong to the prayer that precedes it, but also to every glorious privilege and blessing spoken of the first three chapters.
Are our prayers bound up with praising God?
Is Christ is dwelling in us?