Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Part Two

This is part two of an eight-part series of posts based on a selection of readings from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

There was once a woman who, due to advanced age and some pretty significant health issues, ended up becoming homebound. The pastor of her congregation would come to visit her regularly. He found out very quickly that, even though she was a homebound, she did not feel that her usefulness to the Lord was over.

It was a rural church surrounded by farms and a few homes and this woman’s house was located just a mile and half from the church. The church had a bell that they would ring at the start of each worship service. One day when the pastor was visiting, the woman told the pastor that she could hear the church bell ring from her house each Sunday. It told her that the church service was about to start and that was her signal to start praying for the pastor.

The pastor felt very blessed in knowing that this dear devout woman, who had been so faithful to the Lord all her life, was regularly praying for him. In this post we are going to look at two places in his letter to the Ephesians where Paul talks about praying for his fellow believers.

I make it a regular practice to pray for my fellow believers but I must admit I don’t go into a lot of detail. I have the people a pray for regularly plus I pray for those I know who are facing special challenges. I usually simply ask God to bless them and to help them deal with whatever challenges they are facing.

Paul’s prayers for the Ephesian believers put me to shame. There is one recorded in the first chapter of the letter and another in the third chapter:

First, from chapter one:

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, [16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, [17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, [18] having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (Ephesians 1:15-19, ESV)

And from chapter three:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, [15] from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, [16] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV)

The Spirit of wisdom, eyes of your heart enlightened, riches of his glorious inheritance, immeasurable greatness of his power, riches of his glory, rooted and grounded in love, the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, filled with all the fullness of God. These are the things Paul is praying for his fellow believers.

In just about every one of his letters Paul mentions that he is praying for those to whom he is writing. In many cases he mentions how thankful he is for his fellow believers.

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers. (Romans 1:9-10, ESV)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5, ESV)

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints. (Colossians 1:3-4, ESV)

Too often we take our fellow believers for granted. Imagine how hard it would be to be a believer all by yourself.

The entire seventeenth chapter of John is Jesus’ prayer for his disciples.

It might not be a bad idea to have certain signals or reminders to pray for our fellow believers, just like the woman who prayed for her pastor whenever she heard the church bell ring. I know someone who always stops and prays for the police, firefighters and EMT’s whenever she hears an emergency siren.

And remember that even if you end up homebound or in other ways cannot do the things you used to do, there are always still things like prayer that you can do for others.

And when you pray for other people let them know you are doing so. It will be a great encouragement to them.

If I am going to get serious about praying for my fellow believers, I know I need to up my game. Imagine if we all started praying for each other as Paul prayed for the Ephesians!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s