This message was preached by Pete Harwood at Word of Grace Church Pune, on the 26th of October 2014. You can listen/download the audio by clicking here
If you ask a Christian about their prayer life, most will tell you that they feel guilty that they don’t pray as much as they should. We are busy with work, children, etc. Life seems like a never ending cycle of busyness. When we are free we want to relax. The only time we feel motivated to pray is when we are in trouble. So often our prayers are self centered and focused on needs.
We want these prayers to make life easier. Sometime God does not answer out prayers and we feel cynical.
This passage was written by Paul who was a tent maker and knew what is was like to be busy and under pressure- shipwrecked, beaten, falsely accused. He was writing this letter under house arrest. Yet according this letter he is always praying and his prayers don’t focus on his troubles but on spiritual growth and always praying for more. Paul got what we often fail to.
Peace Joy does not come from all our prayers being answered but from a deeper understanding of his purposes and his glorious purposes for the world.
Verse 16 Paul thanks God for the Ephesians church. He heard that their faith was growing – for everyone the Jews and the gentiles. Thanksgiving is a regular part of Paul’s life. He gives thanks for many things but more for spiritual life. Rom1:8, 1Cor1:4, 2thes1:3.
We find prayer life challenging and when we do pray, we tend to get straight to the point. We pray for physical well being, jobs, homes, families and happiness. It’s great to thank God for these things. We need to learn to give thanks for everything. Are we a : Glass half empty or glass half full person?
W often find it easier to thank God for the physical things around us. Our greatest need is for revelation- to open our eyes to spiritual revelation.
V13-14 Paul mentions that they have received the Holy Spirit. He is now praying that the Holy Spirit who is within them would open their eyes for more wisdom. Gk word Sophia – wisdom that comes from God
Revelation- uncovering, unveiling things that are normally hidden. He opens our spiritual eyes causing us to know spiritual realities. We can be completely oblivious to what is happening in the world and the universe.
The Holy Spirit acts as a microscope revealing things to us we do not and are unable to see with our normal eyes. We need the spirit of God to reveal it to us.
Reading the Bible is great but is not enough because head knowledge will not change our lives. We need the Holy Spirit to make it go from our heads to our hearts. Praying for spiritual revelation is the most important prayer we can pray for ourselves and others.
Don’t just focus on physical things but when you see spiritual growth in your family and friends thank God for it and pray more. When we understand this we will understand physical things too. There are 3 things Paul tells us.
1.Our future is secure – We don’t know the future. And we can worry and be anxious
V18 Paul prayed that they may know the hope (an expectation of a divinely provided future) to which we have been called. This is not “hope” as we use it today meaning wishful thinking. Paul talks of Hope as something God has already done. Once they had not hope but now they have access to all God’s blessings, they have forgiveness, acceptance, righteousness of Jesus given to us, resurrection as we are raised with Him, death is not the end.
2. V18 Glorious inheritance what we receive as a reward from God. i.e God’s glorious inheritance – not something we get but what God gets. The people of Israel are often called God’s inheritance “in the saints” i.e we are God’s reward!! We are glorious to God? How is this possible?
Heb12 For the joy set before Him… that joy is us!! He values us highly and it’s through us that he wants to display his glory. Thai is the confidence he has in us find for us. We are his treasured possession. When you feel down remember this.
3. Immeasurable power is working with in. There is nothing else like it. Paul uses 4 different words for power it to the raising of Christ from the dead. Jesus is now enthroned (v21) far above every power and authority. The one who went to the cross for us, the one who laid down his life like a lamb led to the slaughter has the power over everything!!
What difference does this make to our live?
If we get hold of this truth it will change our lives We need revelation and this will happen through prayer. So we don’t just pray for temporary things but for spiritual things and for Holy Spirit revelation. This is the most important prayer you can make.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.