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3:16.4 Pray for Each Other - Ephesians 3:16, part 1
Have you ever had someone say to you, “I’ll be praying for you?” Or maybe you are the person who said it. Have you ever said it and then not pray for the person? Have you ever heard it and wondered if they were really going to be praying for you?
Now to be totally honest, there have been occasions when I have told someone that I would pray for them and didn’t follow through. Maybe I got distracted or maybe I just forgot, but somewhere along the line, I dropped the ball. Here is a helpful hint, if you want me to do something, to remember something or to pray for something: please don’t just tell me at the door on Sunday Morning, as you’re leaving. Because at that point I have just finished a message and I am greeting as many people as possible before you all go home and my mind, while it is sharp – in those moments my retention ability is very low, and a fair amount of what I hear in that setting, honestly, has an incredible ability, to fall through the cracks. If you tell me at the door, please, please, follow up with a text or an email or a phone call.
What I am trying to do more and more often, when I’m tempted to say, “I’ll be praying for you,” is, I try very hard to say, “Can I pray for you right now?” and then I take a moment right there, to pray for the person, before they or I walk away. A couple reasons I am working more diligently at this: First it means that I do pray for them; but, it also acts as a reinforcement to remind me to pray for them later. And if in response to a Facebook post, email or tweet I commit to pray for someone, I pray immediately, as I respond to that post or tweet.
There are times I will type out a prayer and email or text it to the person or post it on their Face Book page. I want them to know that they are being prayed for and that I’m not just saying it as a social courtesy. The Apostle Paul was one of those people who would say, “I’m praying for you.” In fact, at least 18 different times, in the letters he wrote, he tells the early church that he was praying for them. And not just a little bit, we read in Romans 1:9 – 10a “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the Gospel of His Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times…” ESV.
And then he writes this to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 1:16“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” ESV. He prays that God will give them strength and wisdom. That they will be able to resist temptation and to do what is right, that their love will overflow and that they will be encouraged. And over and over again in his prayers he thanks God for the early Christians. And, when he’s not telling the early church that he’s praying for them, he’s asking that they pray for him.
That bring us to this week’s 3:16. (If you haven’t been reading these devotionals for a while or if you one of the new subscribers, we are in the midst of a series that is entitled 316, and we are looking at various chapter 3 verse 16's throughout the Bible. We started the series, with the most obvious, John 3:16, but, that was only the beginning.) This week we have landed in Ephesians 3:16, where we read the Apostle Paul saying to the church (I’m reading from the NLT), “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.” This is a portion of a prayer that Pastor and Bible Commentator, Adam Clarke, referred to as, “. . . one of the most grand and sublime in the whole oracles of God.”
Let’s read through that entire prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-2 1“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
As I’ve mentioned before, this section of the Bible is referred to broadly as the Epistles, and more specifically as the Pauline Epistles. The term really means, "letters," or in this case, the letters from the Apostle Paul.
Medication: A Merry Heart
Like every Sunday morning my son, David (5 years old), attended church with us. It was common for the preacher to invite the children to the front of the church and have a small lesson before beginning the sermon.
He would bring in an item they could find around the house and relate it to a teaching from the Bible.
This particular morning, the visual aid for his lesson was a smoke detector. He asked the children if anyone knew what it meant when an alarm sounded from the smoke detector.
My child immediately raised his hand and said, “It means Daddy’s cooking dinner.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Luke 4:18-19
Today’s readings: 2 Samuel 6 – 7 & 1 Chronicles 17