This past week I had the privilege of leading that time with the team. My focus was on a thought that has been on my mind as we talk these days about the role prayer plays in our walk of faith. In particular I have been thinking about what it is we pray about as we come to God. It’s been my observation that we do well in interceding for one another about concerns we have for our health and well-being and those that we care about as family and friends. But, as I asked the team, what are we asking God to do among us Valley beyond providing healing grace and strength and rest for who are dealing with health concerns.
I was intrigued by one phrase I see over and over again in Scripture: “I pray that”.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:17-19)
Paul’s request was very specific; praying for spiritual enlightenment so that these Christians would know, would experience the hope that is ours in Christ and the power of Christ at work in us.
There is an unmistakeable pattern in Scripture of this kind of specific ‘ask’ in prayer.
There was a time when, the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness.
Because of their lack of faith and trust, God send snakes to inflict the people and many died. The people came to Moses with a very specific request for deliverance. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Numbers 21:7)
Another time, the people asked Jeremiah to, pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do. (Jeremiah 42:3)
People / remnant are fearful of the Babylonians – want to flee to Egypt
Approach Jeremiah to seek God’s guidance
To the church at Ephesus, Paul would write: 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 3:16-19)
Paul also asked for their prayer support: Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
As I have asked myself, as I asked of the Leadership Team, I now ask of all of us at Valley, what specifically are we praying for our church/ what are we asking God to do among us? I look forward to interacting with you as we take this to our Lord and wait upon Him to lead and direct us as we call out to Him in prayer.