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). 


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!

Discipline of Rest 2 – reaffirming holidays          

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect the rest found in corporate celebration.


Leviticus 23:2-6,21

2  “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.

3  “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.

4  “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.

5  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover.

6  And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread..

21  And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

Observations and Reflection

Context: In this chapter Moses relays God’s commands regarding “holy convocations (or gatherings).” In the Israelite calendar, every 7th day is holy to commemorate the deliverance from Egypt, the forming of their nation under and by God.  Yet in addition to the weekly ray of rest seven other feasts are prescribed, namely the Feast of Harvest, Feast of Trumpets, Feast of Pentecost, Passover Feast, Feast of Booths (tents), Feast of Lights, and the Day of Atonement.  The Israelites were to gather in Jerusalem for these feasts, which occur over three periods through the agricultural year.

  1. Reflect on the practical consequences of these “holy day” commands
    1. For the individual adult
    2. For the devout family farming / doing business outside of Jerusalem
  2. Reflect on the relational implications of attending these “holy day” feasts
    1. What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her relationship with God?
    2. What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her relationship with other Israelites?
    3. What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her identity?
  3. Then in essence, what do these “holy gatherings” facilitate for the believer?

Personal reflection and Application

When you meet someone you typically ask “What do you do?”, then “Are you married? Tell me about your family!” or “do you know so and so?”  We find our identities in what we do and who we closely relate to; we are known by our work, our family and our friends.  “Holy days gatherings” reminded the Israeli that his identity is not found in his work primarily, but in his relation to God and his redemptive purpose, the family and the nation.

  1. Which “holy days” do you do contemporary Christians celebrate that affirm your identity? [hint: just like the Jews we have weekly one as well]
    1. What do each of these “holy days” remind us of?
    2. How do these “holy gatherings” facilitate relationship for you?
    3. How do each of these “holy days” impact your identity?
  2. In which ways could holidays miss to reaffirm our identity and strengthen relationships?
  3. Consider your annual calendar in terms or holidays. How could you plan “holy day periods” to reaffirm your identity and relationships.


Thank God for your work (or daily task) and what you benefit from it, remembering the benefits apart from the salary.  Then pray about your identity, who you are in relation to God, your family, your friends, your church as well as your nation.  Then pray to God for grace to arrange your calendar in Godly wisdom – for you and your family.

Discipline of Rest – identity and trust

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on our soul’s need for rest.


Deuteronomy 5:12-15

12  “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.  13  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.

15  You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Observation and reflection

Context: After their 40 year wandering in Egypt, just before they were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses reminds this new generation of Israelites of the Laws God had given them at Mount Sinai.

  1. Summarize the fourth of the Ten Commands quoted above in your own words.
  2. To whom was this command given?
  3. What are the two things that the Sabbath day was a perpetual reminder and celebration of?
  4. From this command one can see that the identity of the Israelite was closely linked to the Sabbath day. What did the Sabbath day observance inform every Jew about who they were (and who they were not)? [don’t rush this answer]
  5. Respond to this statement: “The Israelites were no longer slaves of Egypt or slaves to their own work; in their Sabbath rest-day they declared that they trust God would provide for their needs.”

Personal reflection and Application

Note that the New Testament believer is not bound by this Law (Colossians 2:16-17) as Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

  1. Based on your observations above,
    1. Why do you need rest?
    2. From what do you need rest?
    3. What does rest do for your identity?
    4. What does rest do for your cares?
  2. How can you adapt your schedule for time every week for this type of rest?
  3. When will you rest in this way?


Thank God that you are not a slave to make a living, but a child of God who is in the care of God.  Reaffirm your identity as beloved child of God and declare your trust in God’s provision. Commit time to rest, asking that God will deliver you from sin of hurriedness and self-dependence.

BS1 Setting the captives free 4

The aim of this devotional study the practice of deliverance in the life o fPaul


Acts 16:16-18

16  One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a young servant woman who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17  She followed Paul and us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They announce to you how you can be saved!” 18  She did this for many days, until Paul became so upset that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her!” The spirit went out of her that very moment.

Acts 19:11-17

11  And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

13  Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14  Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15  But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16  And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

17  And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.


  1. In Acts 16:16-18, how did Paul cast out the evil spirit from the woman? What happened (in your own words)?
  2. In Acts 19:11-17, how did Paul cast out the evil spirits from people? What happened (in your own words)?
  3. In Acts 19:11-17, how did the “itinerant Jewish exorcists” cast out evil spirits from people? What happened (in your own words)?

Reflection and Application

  1. Why could Paul do extraordinary deliverance, but the Jewish exorcists could not, even though they also invoked the names of Jesus?
  2. How did the demons “know” or recognize the authority of Paul?
  3. Would you be recognized as one living in Christ?


Spend some time praying affirming your identity in Christ – this list of Scriptures can help. Let the focus be worship of God’s generosity:

Knowing Jesus 7

The Aim of this devotional study is to evaluate your own personal belief of Jesus Christ’s identity and life, as we look at Peter’s confession of him.


Matthew 16:13-21

13  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

14  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  18  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

20  Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.


Note: Caesarea Philippi was located at the base of Mt Hermon, next to a natural spring that gushed from the mountain (which used to be the source of the Jordan river) – a place of pagan worship and rituals.  Next to the fountain was a temple of the Greek god Pan (see images below).  The city was rebuilt and renamed in 3BC by Philip II, son of Herod the Great, renamed the city Caesarea Philippi in honour of Caesar Augustus (14AD) and later he pressed his own coins with his face on in 30AD – considered an act of idolatry by the Jews.

Thus, in Jesus’ day this city was renown for animistic pagan worship at the natural spring, Greek worship of Pan, Roman emperor worship of Caesar and even veneration of Philip himself.  And here Jesus chose to ask his disciples: “Who do you say I am?”

Current excavation site of Philippi Caesarea with artist rendition of how it probably looked in the days of Jesus.  Note the various pagan temples - especially the temple of Pan at the mouth of the cave - the source of ancient the Jordan River.
Current excavation site of Philippi Caesarea with artist rendition of how it probably looked in the days of Jesus. Note the various pagan temples – especially the temple of Pan at the mouth of the cave – the source of ancient the Jordan River.
The Greek god Pan - half-man, half-goat, playing the flute.  Several images and inscriptions of this god was found in Philippi Caesarea.
The Greek god Pan – half-man, half-goat, playing the flute. Several images and inscriptions of this god was found in Philippi Caesarea.
  1. Considering the background knowledge of the city mentioned above, what depth does it add to Jesus posing the question of his identity in this city?
  2. Unpack Peter’s confession of Jesus (verse 16) – what do the parts of the confession mean?
  3. Directly after Peter’s of Jesus, Jesus said things to Peter (verse 18-19). What did Jesus do with these sayings? What can we learn from that? [hint: identity]
  4. It appears as though Jesus’ relationship with his disciples changed from that moment onward (verse 21). What changed, and what can you learn from this?


  1. Like in Jesus’ day, there are many religions, philosophies, opinions and feelings about life. Jesus poses this same question to you who have walked a while with him: who do YOU say he is?  What do you believe about the identity of Jesus?  Who is he to you?  Why do you say so?
  2. After Peter confessed Jesus’ identity, Jesus affirmed Peter’s identity and purpose. What does Jesus say about you?  Who are you?  Has he said something about your future to you yet?  Ask the Lord, and write down what you believe to be true about yourself.


Spend some time to tell the Lord Jesus who you believe him to be. (take your time).

Then ask him to tell you who you are in him. (write this down).