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Praying for Christian Brothers and Sisters

Encouragement from Paul's Letter to the “Saints” at Ephesus


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How we should pray for fellow Christians: Part 2

Introduction:

This is the second short sermon outline. Written in the hope that it may help us to be a little more specific, and to focus our prayers on the needs of our sisters and brothers, especially those living under persecution, or those who feel inadequate to face the daily challenges to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reading: Ephesians 3 verses 14 – 21

Remembering that this Epistle (Letter) was most probably written to a group of churches in Asia Minor, not just the church at Ephesus. In this passage we have a prayer of Paul for his Christian brothers and sisters – not just at Ephesus but wherever his letter is read. Paul begins his prayer in Chapter 3, verse 1, before breaking off to remind his readers of his credentials as a minister to the Gentiles (verse 7).

Why we should pray:
Verse 14 picks up again with the prayer to God “the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”. God the Father knows and cares for His children and waits, ready to bless “far more abundantly than we can ask or think”. ( verse 20)

What we should pray:
Note again that Paul prays specifically for the spiritual welfare of his fellow Christians, rather than for their material needs.

1) Paul recognises the “riches of God's glory”. God the Father is Lord of heaven and earth. As an aid to our praying it is worth reading Isaiah 40, verses 21 – 31 as an indicator of who God is and what He can do.

2) He prays that through the gift of the Spirit, they may be strengthened by power in the innermost depths of their being. The word often translated as “might” (verse 16) is again that Greek word “dunamei” - “power” or even “explosive power” - as in dynamite! The power which raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (chapter 1. vs 19 – 20) is available to us through the Holy Spirit. What a difference that knowledge would make to our struggling sisters and brothers!

3) The promise of Christ to His followers was that they would not be left desolate but have the strength and comfort of the Holy Spirit of God, “the Counsellor” (see John chapter 14. vs. 15 -21: chapter 15. v. 26 and chapter 16. vs. 7 – 15). Through His Spirit, by faith, Christ dwells in the hearts of all His people, and through this “indwelling” we all may be “rooted and grounded in love” (verse 17 in Ephesians chapter 3 ).

4) Paul prays that through the Spirit, his brothers and sisters “may have power to comprehend with all the saints” (v.18) the all enfolding love of Christ. The word used here for “power” literally means “strength enough”. So the phrase can be translated as “may have strength enough to understand”. Again this is the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the life of a believer. Only in realising the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of Christ, can we “be filled with all the fullness of God”.

5) As Paul closes his prayer, he recognises again the “dunameno” - the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit at work within Christians. That our sisters and brothers, suffering and under pressure may know this rich blessing should be guiding and driving our prayers for them.


Part 1 - Ephesians Chapter 1 verses 11 - 23


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