Praying with Paul

This is a devotional written by Dan Crow. 

Ephesians 1:15-23

Thanksgiving and Prayer

 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Reflection

Young Faith is in some ways similar to young love.  There is all the excitement of fresh hope in a new life, shared, altered, turned upside down, and yet in those fragile early stages there are moments of doubt - is this really true, am I going mad, am I making this all up?  It is therefore so important that those new to faith are celebrated, encouraged and prayed for by those a little further down the road.  It also sets up an uplifting and strengthening dynamic in those giving the support, that manifests what it means for the church to be a “body”.

I remember a few years ago when a friend new to faith joined our homegroup.  I was struck by the very healthy two-way exchange that took place between the fresh passionate newbie and those more established.  As one would expect, those with more experience were able to pray with, share and support the new believer.  But good things were happening in both directions.   It was so inspiring and encouraging for those perhaps a little tired and weary in their faith, to see God working so powerfully in a fresh new way.  As the new believer expressed and experienced their new discoveries, so the more mature saw things again for the first time, a bit like a parent with a young child.  It was a brilliant upbuilding and life-giving cycle.

In difficult times such as these, where we are at times being forced into isolation, let us think of new ways to encourage each other.  I thank God for the incredible new technology human beings have invented that have enabled us to break down the barriers of time and space.  Today think of one or two people at st Mary’s, and send up a prayer.  And perhaps like Paul, as well as praying, send a message to let them know you are doing so too.  This coronavirus cannot stop the powerful body of Christ in action.  Amen

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