Praying to Our Father – connection (Prayer day 13)

In praying to “Our Father in heaven” we have confidence in God’s sympathy (as His children), superiority (in power) and spirit (his loving generosity). 

Scripture

Ephesians 3:14-21

14  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.

20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Observations and reflections

  1. What is Paul’s POSTURE in praying this prayer to the Ephesian church? (v14) Why do you think it mattered to Paul?
  2. Note TO WHOM does Paul this prayer. (v14-15)  What do we learn about how we relate to God the Father | Christ Jesus His Son | and the Holy Spirit’s from this prayer?
  1. Note the CONFIDENCE in this prayer. Try find one descriptive word for Paul’s confidence in verse 16a and the reason for his confidence in verse 20?
  2. WHAT does Paul pray for the Ephesian church in verses 16-19? Again try single descriptive words.

Personal reflection and Prayer

The Ephesian church suffered from internal factions and external persecution. Yet Paul confidently kneeled to the Father in heaven and prayed for strength through faith, knowing that the God the Father loves His children, is generous and kind, and can do far more than we can imagine.

  1. Write down all your external pressures and internal, emotional struggles.
  2. Now slowly pray this prayer for yourself today: (Can you kneel down?)
  • Thank God the Father that you are HIS CHILD – you find your identity, destiny and security in him – he is responsible for you.
  • Tell God you pray CONFIDENTLY to him because of His supreme GENEROSITY and ABILITY. (stay here for a while)
  • Pray for STRENGTH to endure. (be specific)
  • Pray for FAITH to trust him for provision, to do his will not yours, and to know he is with you in these hardships (dependence, surrender, communion). Bring your needs to God here.
  • Pray that you may experience His LOVE – in your heart and in His church.
  1. Take a while and IMAGINE how God will solve all these issues. Tell God what you see, and how you believe he can do so much more than that!

Salvation 12

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation for our salvation in Jesus Christ.

Scripture

Philippians 2:5-13

5  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

8  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  9  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Observation

  1. The gospel (according to Paul, refer 1 Cor 15) is simply the announcement of how God dealt with our separation from him (resulting in our sinful depravity and pending death) by giving his Son as a substation for our punishment and death, and subsequent victory over sin and death. Look at this text and write down what you can see about the gospel (“good news”) of our salvation.
  2. Some say that salvation is an event, other says it’s a process. What would you answer them out of this text?
  3. Some say that salvation is by faith only, other ay you have to do something. What would you answer them out of this text?
  4. Some say that God saves us, others say that we need to work with God. What would you answer them out of this text?
  5. In reference to the immediate context, what was Paul referring to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”?

Application

  1. If someone asked you “how should I work out my salvation?” – what would you answer them?
  2. In a very practical, day-to-day way – how do you “work our your salvation”? And what aspect of your salvation are you working out at the moment?  (Consider also what is the Lord busy with regarding your salvation?)

Prayer

Thank the Lord that He “is always at work in us, giving you the desire and ability to fulfill his will” [Phil 2:13, NIV translation].  And ask Him what is busy with in your life – pray about that.