Since early January, I’ve been helping teach a Bible study with some of the women from our church. Every Monday night, 40 of us squeeze into a room at the back of our carpet-warehouse-turned-house-of-worship and pour over the pages of God’s Word together. It’s a highlight of my week.
We’re studying the book of Ephesians. Ephesians is a dear letter from the apostle Paul to the newish Christians who lived in Ephesus. He had poured his heart and soul into the early formation of the church at Ephesus and obviously had some important things he wanted to share with them.
He spends the first half of the letter simply reminding them who they are in Christ. It’s beautiful to recount all the blessings that are ours simply because of riches of God’s grace and the kind intention of His will. It’s like a torrential downpour of spiritual blessings running over we who are wrapped up in Jesus.
Couched among his admonitions and reminders is this precious prayer that Paul utters on behalf of these dear ones. I can’t get it out of my head. Here’s what he prays for his friends in Ephesus:
I pray that they eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
The thing that strikes me. The bit that I can’t seem to get over… is how different that seems from most of our prayers. My prayers pretty much revolve around the physical realities of my life or the lives of the people around me. Prayers for safe travels. Or for mom’s shop to sell quickly. Or for a friend’s frustrations at work. Or for the kid’s to be more obedient.
I don’t think it’s wrong to pray for those things. Paul prayed for healing for himself. Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread. Our daily, physical needs are important. They matter to us and to our Lord. I have a friend who just found out that her 8-year-old daughter’s lymphoma returned – more aggressive than ever. You better believe I’m praying for physical healing for sweet little Maddie.
But, I can’t get away from Paul’s prayer either. It’s like he realized that there was something even more critical for us to catch. That what we need – even more than physical healing or immediate provision – is to know, beyond of a shadow of a doubt, who our God is and how He feels about us. That my deepest need is not a better system of organizing my calendar or more hours in the day or more money to make ends meet or a bigger family room or a healthy husband. That there is a spiritual realm that is just as real as my daily physical one.
I’m going to keep praying for immediate, tangible needs all around me. But, my prayer life could use a pretty healthy dose of praying for the deeper, unseen places – for the eyes of my heart to be enlightened. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the best thing I could pray for you too.
- Do you know and exalt in the hope of His calling? Hope does not disappoint!!
- Do you experience the heaping riches of His inheritance? If you know Him, you are a child of the King of the Universe. That’s a lot of riches.
- Do you believe He brings His great, raise-people-from-dead-type-of-power to bear on your life? He has the power to help you conquer the most addictive behaviors the plague you.
Oh… how I pray that they eyes of your heart will be enlightened. So that you will KNOW.