Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

June 11, 2005

Pray in Wonder

So I'm still here, walking around and around Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. Or as The Broken Messenger prefers, pealing back the layers, one after the other. Up till now I've drawn two definite conclusions concerning prayer. I said, first of all, that we should pray big. Although I know that the Holy Spirit can and does give us accuracy in prayer, we should not let our prayers be limited by the range of solutions that we consider likely or imaginable. Second, I said that we should pray from the inside out. Pray for the inward disposition of a person first, understanding that the fruit of the Spirit is born from what God has placed within us. The main concern should be the heart, not the circumstances.

Well, so now it's time for the third lesson, I suppose. We've been talking about the extent of Christ's love for us. Paul prays for the inward power to discern, to grasp, the dimensions of Christ's love, and by that means the Ephesians might be "filled with all the fullness of God." We're going to come back to the matter of "fullness," but before doing so, we simply need to emphasize this matter of knowing the love of Christ.

I said yesterday that this phrase reminds us inevitably of the Cross, and the Cross reminds us of God's amazing grace. Paul's characteristic word is "riches." In his letter to the Ephesians he refers to "the riches of [God's] grace" (1:7), "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (2:7), "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (3:8), and "the riches of His glory" (3:16). My point is, Paul is everywhere expressing his wonder at the sheer bountifulness of God's love for us, always taking pains to speak of it, always making note of the awe-inspiring gracefulness of the Father's love.

And so, we move on to our prayer-lesson #3: Pray in wonder. Cultivate a sense of wonder, like Paul's, at the amazing grace of God, and pray out of that wonder. Study the grace of God. Understand it's full extent, the sheer greatness of His mercy, and infuse your prayers with that wonder. Dust off those too-familiar words, "hallowed be thy name," and really hallow it.

God's design, his purpose, for all creation has never been set aside, and one of the wondrous things about the grace of God is that He is working out that purpose through his children. By grace we are saved, and by grace we stand. By grace we pray, serve, offer praise, live, move, love. Grace is enabling. By grace we are enlightened, filled, and equipped for the work that God has prepared for us to do. The fourth and last point I will be touching on here is this enabling power of the grace of God. What Paul calls, in this passage, "fullness."

4 Comments:

Blogger Broken Messenger said...

Beautiful stuff, per usual Bob.

Hey one thing of note, though I appreciate the link, I'm skeptical that you intended to link to one of my post's comments section in this post here.

Here the permalink for the post that I think you were after...

http://www.brokenmessenger.com/2005/06/blog-gems.html

YBIC,
Brad

12:33 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Ooops. That's what happens when I'm in a hurry. Thanks for the correction, Brad.

8:02 AM  
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