For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
What is your attitude when you approach God in prayer?
- Do you come as a spoiled child, assuming that God exists to give you all you desire, to fulfill your every whim? Your posture is demanding – legs spread and arms folded, with a petulant pout, expecting God to give till it hurts.
- Or do you work God like a salesman, bargaining with him, making promises and striking deals to get what you want?
- Perhaps you treat God like a cosmic vending machine – pop in a few quarters of religious activity and good works, press the right buttons, and all that you want will come to you from the hand of God. You see God as the heavenly blessing dispenser.
- Maybe you are a prayer magician, thinking that if you can just say the right words, repeat the proper formula in prayer, the abracadabra (in Jesus’ name, of course) you will get everything your heart could desire.
- perhaps you come to God in terror or in disbelief, lacking confidence in either the love and goodness of God or his desire to answer your prayers.
- Perhaps you ignore God until an emergency happens, then fire off a divine 911 call expecting him to respond immediately and assist.
At the risk of sounding judgmental, which is not my desire, we have two consistent problems in our prayer lives, problems Pauls didn’t seem to have and problems he taught against. First, we are often prayerless. This powerful prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 is just one of many of Paul’s prayers for his churches – he lived in a constant state of supplication. But when we pray we often pray with bad posture. No, there is nothing magical about how you carry yourself when you pray. You can sit or stand or kneel or pray however you wish. That is up to you. But our hearts much be in a proper posture.
Paul’s posture is expressed in verses 14 and 15. For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. He is kneeling. A subject kneels before a king and that is the proper posture of prayer. When we pray, we do not demand, or order, or “speak things into being.” We bow before the king and make humble requests. Powerful prayer starts with the proper posture – humbly kneeling before the king and recognizing that you are asking for what you don’t deserve. That’s why we call them prayer requests, not prayer demands.
What is the purpose of powerful prayer? We are facing some physical needs in the Miller house. I just had major surgery and will have a robotic surgery on a renal carcinoma at the end of June. My wife has major surgery next week. In addition to the prayers for healing we have received from all over this country, we will be facing a couple of truckloads of medical bills. We will pray a LOT about those.
But genuine, powerful prayer is not about physical healing (though that is certainly biblical) or financial provision (though that is justified as well). Look what Paul prayed for here.
- He prayed that the Spirit of God would strengthen them with power in their inner beings according to the riches of God’s glory.
- He prayed that they would experience the indwelling Christ in their hearts through faith.
- He prayed that they might be “rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
I could pray all day for healing and for provision for our needs, but if I seek the Spirit’s power in my inner being, seek to know the indwelling Christ by faith, and am rooted and established in love – experiencing the fullness of the love of God in my life – I will be able to walk in joy and contentment and in spiritual power whether I am sick or well, whether I well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.
It is through these prayers being answered that I will learn the lessons our friend Shane Hall taught us – that no matter what life throws at us…Jesus is enough.