From Death to Life: Do My Prayers Even Matter? (Ephesians 1:15-19)
Do My Prayers Even Matter? (Ephesians 1:15-19)
The church at Ephesus was no ordinary church. Started by the missionary Paul, it was strengthened by Apollos, Priscilla, and Aquilla, pastored by Timothy, and also had guidance from the Apostle John. To this church, in Eph. 1:15-19, we are privileged to open the prayer journal of the world's greatest missionary to this most beloved congregation.
Communion (1:15) Since I heard about your faith, Paul’s intercession begins as a response to what he hears about someone else. Prayer, at its very core, is not about you. We often struggle to pray because we believe that our needs, our strength, or our piety fuels prayer. For Apostle, to hear that others have given their lives to Jesus is reason enough to pray!
Praying for others draws you closer in horizontal relationships, and it draws you closer in a vertical relationship. Church, your prayers can be a response to others' faith: saving faith and practical faith. Most likely, Ephesians was sent after a seven-year absence and near the end of five years of imprisonment. And yet, when Paul prayed, it was as if the church was standing next to Paul and God at the same time.
Take-Home: Your prayers impact the lives and your love for others.
Consistency (1:16) I never stop. Now I know what you are thinking, “I have to eat and sleep, so this is impossible!” Without ceasing is rhetorical and reminds the church of Paul’s consistent prayers, which complements the Ephesian’s actions. As they continue to believe and love, Paul is continually giving thanks and praying for them. Paul wanted them to know that he did not forget the believers at his regular time of prayer. The Father wants you to have a prayerful consistency in your life.
This is how Jesus describes your prayers: Luke 18:1 Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect people. 3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so that she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’”
A prayerful consistency sounds like the little engine that could, slowly struggling up the hill. Instead of “I think I can,” we pray, “I know you can, I know you can.”
Take-Home: Do my prayers matter? Yes, never give up! The Father never gets tired of hearing you.
Celebration (1:16) Never stop giving thanks. So often, when we draw the picture of prayer, we sketch every head bowed and every eye closed, a melancholy moment of silence. However, this is now what we see from Paul as he never stops giving thanks.
Prayer is a beautiful expression of our salvation in Christ. Prayer is part of our celebration! Our brothers around the world get this:
Nepal– Worship is not governed by time or a song list. Rather, at any time, anyone can pray aloud, even in the middle of a song. Worshipers often dance, clap, and tearfully shout their prayers to God throughout the service.
India– Loves high volume, pomp, and pizzazz, particularly in rural areas. One song may go on for ten minutes, concluded by a prayer that runs into the next song
Ghana– Musical worship in West African church services almost always includes expressive, animated dancing. Ghanaian music, like most of West Africa, is based primarily on rhythm, not melody. Local prayers reflect this heartbeat.
Take-Home: Your prayer should keep Christian praise and Christian celebration as one. Prayer is part of our celebration!
Confidence (1:17) I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father… When Paul prayed, he beseeched the throne as if God himself listened. But the Apostle did not receive superstar treatment, and he was not delirious, for anyone in Christ when you pray, the Father hears you. So, pray with confidence.
John 11:41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here, I said this so that they may believe you sent me. Jesus prayed with confidence.
In the same way, the Messiah teaches you to pray. When you pray, the Father already knows what you need even before you ask. So don’t pray to babble on; pray with confidence.
Take-Home: It’s not your words; it’s your status as a daughter/son that bends the ear of the Father. Pray with confidence, my child.
Content (1:17-19) Now, we see the content of Paul’s prayer for the saints: saving faith (know), hope (a deeper trust), glorious riches of his inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of his power.
For Paul, the content of his prayer is the demonstration of love poured out on the cross, the demonstration of power through the resurrection, and the demonstration of God’s plan in His Word. And Paul was just getting started!
Take-Home: You will never grow bored with prayer if the Word guides your content.
Do your prayers matter? If you only knew how much you mattered to the Father, you would never lose heart again. His children are never a bother, and they are always heard.
Who is your Paul? Whose Paul are you?
Did you know that Jesus believed so much in prayer that He prayed for you?
Jesus prayed for you.
John 17:20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. 21May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.
You can pray because Jesus took your place on the cross and made a way.
Your prayers (belief, being one with the Father) are the answer to our Savior’s prayer in the Garden.