Ephesians 3:14-17a (NIV)
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from Whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
The Message My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father Who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in.
“Father, what are You trying to talk to me about today?”
The first thing my eye keeps “seeing” as I read this, is in vs 14 where it says “for this reason” and “my response”. What reason? My response to what?
This reminds me of school, when a word like “therefore” starts a new paragraph, and the teacher makes you stop and go back and figure out what happened before the “therefore.” “But I am in a hurry, I just want to get this done, it will take too much time to go back and see what is going on!!!” When I give in to slowing down, and reading the “stuff” before the “therefore” it takes on richer meaning and depth.
What “reason?” Is the reason in vs 19+?
“You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here. God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.”
Is this is the reason - that from the time the apostles and prophets laid the foundation – until the time that Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesian believers about being a part of the “building” – all the way until today, February 19, 2014 – that we ALL are going to be used by God. Did you see that? Not only am I not an outsider to this Gospel, but I am just as important of a “brick” as everyone else in the construction of God’s Building! He is using me? Yes! Just like He used people throughout this Salvation story – He is using us ALL. Is this what came before the "therefore?"
Next, my eyes “see” that Paul is kneeling before His Father in heaven on OUR behalf – what is he asking God to do for us? Why is he kneeling? What is He asking?
He is praying, on his knees, that our Father would parcel out everything – all of His glorious riches – to strengthen us – me – you – today – 2/19/14. The same things he was praying for these new Christ followers while he was in jail – he is praying forward to today. What is he praying for – for me?
“Strength.” Strengthen me how, why, for what?
17 I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in.
Whether I am a “new” Christ follower – or have been a part of God’s family for a very long time, I should not “skip” over this prayer for me for strength. I daily need to have this glorious inner strength. Today, February 19, 2014 I desperately need His Spirit in me. My day will go terribly wrong if I rely upon my own strength. I need Christ living in me today. I need to re-open the door and invite Him inside of me, and into my day.
This is refreshing. I am tired. I left Sunday after church for Beaumont with my sister. Beaumont is a long way! And you have to choose to drive through downtown Houston at 80 mph, or take little 2-lane roads like 105 and dawdle behind tractors and slow-moving traffic and small Texas town squares for five hours at 50 mph. We traveled there for her to formally retire as a professor at Lamar University, pack up her office, and drive back to Austin…. The same 2-lane road! And yes, we got stuck for about an hour behind a Double-Wide trailer being moved. Sigh.
So, my Spirit is tired. I need refreshing. And I forgot that I had today's Blog. I can “tackle” this day with brute strength from my own power. I can slump through the day counting the hours until I can crawl back into bed. Both of those choices do not require the Glorious inner strength of the Holy Spirit. Both of those scenarios do not sound like a very life-changing day to me. Or, I can re-invite Christ into my tired spirit. I can re-invite Him into my day – and find Him filling me with His glorious inner strength to face this day with eyes wide open to however He wants to use me as a brick in His building – today.
Finally, my mind keeps seeing the word “kneeling”. I don’t get down on my knees and kneel before the Father very often. Ok – rarely. Well – almost never. I could sadly count on one hand the number of times I have spent kneeling. Ugh. That hurts to confess. The times I have been on my knees were in utter despair, sobbing and groaning, kneeling as a “last” resort when I can no longer stand by my own power.
What would it feel like to come before the Father on my knees, and pray when I am NOT in utter despair? What if I prayed for people on my heart and mind and on my “prayer list” on my knees? The few times I have been on my knees – there is no messing around. When on my knees – I am not giving God a trite “shopping list” of prayers and needs. When I have been on my knees – I am truly repentant, and am reverent in awe and utmost respect for my Father in heaven. Wow. What if I prayed like that for others?
What if I used the words from today's Scripture as a prayer... and inserted people's names into it.....
"I ask Him to strengthen you (Delton, Rachel, Friends with Cancer and health issues, new believers, etc) by His Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in."
What if I prayed this prayer from Paul, for all the people in my life - on my knees?
Perhaps this is what God wanted to talk to me about today. Perhaps He is challenging me - as His special brick - to pray today and this week on my knees. Perhaps He is giving me new words to use when praying for others - that He would fill them, too, with His glorious inner strength. Is God perhaps challenging you to do the same?
If so, wouldn't it be fascinating to share with each other what praying this prayer for others – on our knees – feels like and how it changes our prayer lives and our roles as bricks in God’s building?
Want to join me – on our knees?