Sunday, April 24, 2005

Praying Like St. Paul

A fascinating pattern emerges if you spend some time studying the prayers of St. Paul throughout the epistles. Paul often refers to the fact that he regularly prays for the people he's writing to, but there are some specific instances where Paul also tells us what he's praying about.

Paul prayed:

  • in Ephesians 1:15-23: for a Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better (1:17), eyes enlightened to see the hope He calls us to (1:18) and to know His power (1:19) (I recently blogged a longer post on this passage here)
  • in Ephesians 3:14-21: that they would be strengthened by the Spirit (3:16), so that Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith (3:17), and that they would have power to grasp the immensity of God's love for them (3:18)
  • in Philippian 1:3-11: that their love would abound more and more (1:9), for discernment (1:10), so they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness (1:11)
  • in Colossians 1:3-12: that they would be filled with God's wisdom to know His will (1:10), so that good fruit would be evident in their lives (1:11), joyfully giving thanks (1:12)
  • in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-13: that God's power would cause His purposes for them to be fulfilled (1:11)
  • and in every recorded prayer (including those not listed here), Paul gives thanks for the people God has given him relationship with.
What if leaders -- church, simple/home church, whatever -- prayed these kind of prayers for the people around them? Would it make a difference?

I dare you to try praying like this for a month, and then let's talk about what changes did or did not happen.

I dare you.

Friday, April 22, 2005

There Once Was A Time...

...when a 16-year-old lost a wrestling match with God, and found himself standing at the front of a high school auditorium, surrendering his life to Jesus.
...when a 17-year-old stood up at a church service in a tiny church on Brant Street, across from the sounds and smells of the train station, and said "yes" to following Jesus in fulltime service, if that was His leading.
There once was a time...

...when a 19-year-old heard "the call" in a dingy basement of a church during a party with friends, and he responded in obedience by quitting the college where he was pursuing a career in television and journalism, and moving 1500 miles west to attend Bible college.
...when a 22-year-old stood up with his beautiful girlfriend at a Keith Green Memorial Concert, and said "yes" to being available to serve on the mission field, if that was where He might lead them.
...when a 25-year-old looked around the mega-church on the Canadian Prairies where he was interning, and chose a different path and model of leadership.
There once was a time...

...when a 27-year-old prayed, "Oh God, whatever You do -- don't let me get comfortable", and was determined to live a life characterized by faith, and to never give in to the status quo.
...when a 32-year-old and his beautiful wife said "yes" to a pastoral position with no guarantee of a salary, and lived perched precariously on the speeding, twisting roller coaster called "give us this day our daily bread", because they believed it was the design of God as He inspired the writing of that chapter of their lives.
Now is the time...

...when a 43-year-old and his beautiful wife once again say "yes" to Jesus, and like Abraham of old, enter a new chapter of faith and obedience to whatever He might call them to.