19 Jul Words of Grace – Praying from the Bible
Just as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are involved in our salvation, so is each person of the one living and true God involved in our praying. It is only as we read the Bible that we learn to pray with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in mind, and for the love of God to dwell in our hearts.
In Ephesians 3:14-19, we read one of the most famous prayers ever prayed and written. We can also say it is one of the most theologically dense. In the English translation I use, this prayer is one long, run-on sentence containing about one hundred words with seven commas. Because of its theological nature, length, and complex sentence structure, we can get a bit lost while attempting to travel through this prayer. But the five or ten minutes it takes to get the basic meaning of this prayer will be worth our time and effort. We will be moved to pray it for ourselves and others.
Here is a simple summary of this prayer and how to pray it. We pray to the Father who gives good gifts to us… we pray for the work of the Spirit in our souls… we pray that we will trust Christ and know his great love for us… we pray that our lives will be filled and will overflow with the life of God as we live each day in relationship with him and people.
There is much more to this prayer, and each word should be included in our meditation. We should look for the connections between each part of the prayer, thinking about how God, his love, and our experience of him is described. It would be a mistake to oversimplify this prayer and miss its richness.
But, summarizing this prayer after deeply thinking about it is a helpful way to turn it into our own prayer. We can expand on each part for our specific needs and situation. This prayer, like all the prayers of the Bible, gives us a guide for praying the will of God.
This morning, I prayed this prayer specifically for some of you who will read these words today as you receive this blog post in your inbox. I prayed more generally for our whole congregation. I used this prayer to pray for my family and for another pastor in our city. I prayed this prayer for myself. I did not have to search for words to pray this morning, I found them in the Bible.
This weekend, take up the Bible and read. As you do, turn what you read into prayers. Then join us Sunday for more praying.