Daily D – Ephesians 1:16-18
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. EPHESIANS 1:16-18 (NLT)
Have you ever said something like, “I’ll be praying for you,” and then honestly, truthfully did not know how to get beyond praying, “Bless ‘em. Bless ‘em real good”?
Paul the Apostle, a man who knew how to pray, teaches us how to pray when we do not know what to pray. He prayed with thanksgiving: “I have not stopped thanking God for you.” The Christian Standard Bible translates these words this way: “I never stop giving thanks for you.” The Message paraphrases it, “I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks.”
You get the feeling Paul was deeply grateful for these friends. An article I read a while back said emails are more likely to get a response if you close them with the two little words. _With gratitude_. I began using this as part of my email signature. It is a nice reminder to express gratitude to God for the person addressed.
Paul says he expressed his gratitude every time he thought about this group of people. Never stopping giving thanks is a good start toward improved relationships, wouldn’t you say?
Paul also asked our Father in heaven to give this group of people spiritual wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God. God’s wonderful plan for our friends’ lives is better than our wonderful plan for them. It is more important that our family members, friends, and coworkers know and experience God and his purpose than me and mine. This thought seriously reshapes my prayers for others.
Paul continued by praying “that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called.” In _Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade_, the Holy Grail is lost forever. In the discussion following this dramatic scene, Indie’s father, who has searched for the Holy Grail for his whole life, is asked what he received from the experience. He replies with a single word: “Illumination.”
Praying for illumination for others is asking God to turn on the lights for people to see, understand, and embrace the “confident hope he has given to those he called.”
Sitting in a Bible class at college during my student days, a guy you would not expect to attend a Bible class was among my classmates. This rough and crude young man who spoke with colorful expression often unheard in the University Christian Center received illumination one day well into the semester.
When the lights came on, he loudly blurted out an attention-getting expletive that caused the professor to stop in the middle of her remarks. Christianity finally made sense to him. It dawned on him what Jesus had done for him. Walking away from class that day, he appeared lighter on his toes, fully joyful, engulfed in a deep smile of gratitude.
Pray for illumination.
When a person understands and embraces this confident hope, he or she understands and embraces what it means to be included in God’s family. They awaken to the reality of belonging to our Father in heaven. They are his dearly loved children.
Who would not want that for whoever they pray for? Today is a good day to reshape our prayers for others. Paul’s prayer gives ours a jumpstart moving us well beyond, “Bless ‘em. Bless ‘em real good.”
I will pray with gratitude.
Our Father, teach me to pray for others with gratitude. Teach me to pray for others to know and experience you. I want their minds to be illumined. I want them to experience confident hope. I want them to know they belong to you. Amen.
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Daily D – Psalm 143:8-10
Psalm 143:8-10 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Daily D – Psalm 142:5
Psalm 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Daily D – Ezra 3:11-13
Ezra 3:11-13 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:22-25
2 Chronicles 35:22-25 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 32:31
2 Chronicles 32:31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.