Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Pray Big"

     The Apostle Paul prayed in superlatives.

     "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"  (I Thessalonians 5:23).
     ""For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, might comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).
    "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God (Philippians 1:9-11).

    Paul did not believe or teach that sinless perfection or glorification would be achieved in this lifetime by born again believers (I Corinthians 8:2; Philippians 3:13-14).  Our brother of old nevertheless prayed big, as it were, basing his supplications on the Answerer rather than the beneficiaries.  Paul kept in heart and mind the truth that our Heavenly Father possesses the most magnanimous of hearts whereby He "is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).  Such remembrance of Divine willingness and ability led the Apostle to focus on God as He prayed, asking for great things, and trusting the Lord to answer in accordance with His glory, will, and gloriously generous heart.  

    Sometimes we ask small because we don't believe we or others deserve much from God.  This is true.  However, our Father does not work in our lives based on what we deserve, but rather on what Christ deserves.  "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which was in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14).  Praying accordingly does not discount human realities, and again, we trust the Lord to administer His answers in accordance with the best interests of ourselves and others.  We must nonetheless join Paul in his God-centered offerings to the gloriously generous Heart.  We pray big if we pray rightly.  Or we might say that we pray with a heart mindful that we approach a "throne of grace" with our intercessions and supplications (Hebrews 4:16).  Our blessed Father loves to answer prayers far more than we love to pray them.  The Apostle Paul knew this, and prayed accordingly.  We do well to follow his example, responding to our Lord's beckoning communicated through another of His servants…

"Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

Weekly Memory Verse
    For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
(Romans 5:10)

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