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Photo: British Athletics

"God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure."

Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire

Praying Intelligently

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-21

This passage records one of Paul’s great prayers.

What I love about Paul’s prayers - and am constantly challenged by – is that they are so full if content. No “God bless Mary” prayers for Paul!

He begins by acknowledging who he is praying to – God the father (verse14). As Hebrews 11:6 reminds us “anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him”. Paul prays five things for the Ephesian Christians

That God would strengthen them with power through his Spirit in their inner being; We all need God’s strength; that is a very practical prayer.

That Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith; Paul was really reminding them of the amazing miracle that Christ lived in them and wanting them to be more aware of it.

Having reminded them that they are “rooted and established in love” he prays that they might grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and for them

to know this love that surpasses knowledge. No matter how long we have been Christians we never really grasp how much God loves us. The prayer is a timely reminder.

Then he prays that they would be

filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. What an amazing concept that we can be filled with God’s fullness, together with all the Lord’s holy people.

In the middle of the prayer, Paul slips in a reminder that we are not alone. We are part of the church universal – the gathering of all the Lord’s holy people.

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