This past week at my early morning mens’ Bible study we were talking about living in the presence of Christ every moment of every day – something that’s easy to talk about but, ashamedly, hard to do. Apparently, this is a common struggle between Christians from long ago as well as for today. Read what Paul wrote in regards to his prayers for the Ephesians:
“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Chris, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to use who believe….I pray that you, being 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 the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God…Therefore I..urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.” (1:17-19, 3:17b-19, 4:1b-2, HCSB)
Wow – go back and read that again (seriously: do it). Do you see what Paul said he was praying for for the first century believers in Ephesus? During our conversation Friday morning we talked regarding the importance of knowing God’s will – how do we know if what we feel God is telling us to do is really God speaking and not our own voices or the voice of other spiritual powers? The first thing we talked about was being “rooted and grounded” in the Word. For if what we feel God is calling us to do is contrary to His word then it’s not him doing the speaking.
And that’s basically what Paul is praying for here – that the believers would grow up and know God’s word, that they would know Jesus and live him out. But do you see what occurs first? The knowledge of Jesus – and as our minds are “enlightened” and spirit grows in “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” then we can “walk worthy” of our calling.
Think of it this way… This past August I gave each of you a recording of demo songs from our repertoire for the year to listen to – a CD I know many of you listened to as we learned the music. And knowing what the song sounded like in whole allowed us to better prepare the songs and learn them when we were together – you had a reference point to compare them to. That’s kind of what Paul is talking about here: knowing the Word and living it is like knowing the song and singing it – they go hand in hand.
So this prayer has become one I prayer regularly not only for myself but for others – and I encourage you to pray it as well.