Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hope and Power – Journal for 3/19/11

Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23
‎17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Paul is giving thanks and praying for his friends in Ephesus. He begins with thanksgiving. That's a natural place to begin prayer. Thanksgiving is looking back at what God has done in the lives of people and in the course of history. When we start with thanksgiving we acknowledge that God has heard our prayers, seen our need, and responded in glorious ways.

Paul's prayer then moves to asking God for specific things on behalf of the Ephesian church. Grammatically the request is that God might open their eyes to see two things: their hope and God's power.

Paul is not asking that they recieve more hope and power. His conviction is that they have the hope that they need, but they aren't aware of it. Similarly, they have all the power they could ever ask for, but they are not experiencing it fully.

1) I should follow Paul's pattern and give God thanks before I ask for things I don't have yet. In other words, I should look at what I do have and recognize where it comes from. I am incredibly blessed, but like 9 of the 10 lepers whom Christ healed, I walk away healed and complete, but unthankful.

2) There are things that I already possess, but don't live like I have them. Why do I live so hopeless and powerless when I have access to God's hope and God's power? I am going to ask God to open my eyes to see what I have in Christ.

Today, Lord, I come to thank you for my blessings. I have a safe and warm home that is filled with the laughter and life of a fabulous family. I have meaningful work that fits my passions and brings joy. I live in abundance and freedom in this land. I have friends and health and choices in nearly everything.

I pray today for those who may not be experiencing those blessings. As I watch the news tonight that is filled with pictures of devastation in Japan and the beginnings of military action in Libya I pray for those people. They are precious to you. They are uniquely created by you and share the image of God in themselves. They are low on hope and long to see the power of God.

Dear God, please bring them hope of life. Bring them an opportunity to experience a new life with Christ at the center. Free them from tyranny and fear. Cause them to prosper. As they grieve what they have lost and as they anticipate what is to come, may they be filled with the hope to imagine a better future and may they be filled with the power of God to see it happen in their day. In the name of Jesus Christ, my hope and my power.

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