16 “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,
and how deep his love is.
19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:16-19, NLT (My bullet points)
Paul has a ‘rocking’ prayer life. The church of Ephesus would have swelled on the spot with such an amazing prayer. I have to believe that sometimes preaching and worship isn’t enough. There is a need for intercessory prayer instead.
Prayer interjects what preaching can’t. Good worship is critical, but there are needful things that are only drilled in by prayer. Paul knows this, and even though he is quite far away, he can disciple that church at a distance– through prayer. Prayer is Paul’s way of touching the church, even across the ocean!
Most of our Bible heroes had seasons of intercession.
Abraham for instance, stood and begged God for Lot’s life. Moses beseeched on behalf of Israel. Of course, Samuel and David would stand on Israel’s behalf. These are men who regarded intercessory prayer as a critical part of their walk. They ‘stood in the gap’ so others might live.
In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, it seems he wants to solidify some essential things within them. The prayer is marvelous. He has a confidence that he is making a difference in the spiritual lives of the church, even if he is chained to a guard in Rome. Ministry doesn’t have to be restricted by distance.
There are powerful truths in this part of Ephesians, and will penetrate the hearts of the hearers. With Paul confined and unable to visit the church, he must revive the heart of an intercessor. I hope you find someone to pray for.
”Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men.”
“He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.”
-2 Cor. 1:4, NCV
“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell withthe consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
Isaiah 33:14, ESV
There has to be some sort of confusion here. Some discrepancy, some incongruity, something overlooked. But things are never what they seem, and that is accentuated when we are in real pain. We think that whatever trouble we get enmeshed in, can’t have any real redeeming value. Or does it?
After a period of time walking with God, whose presence is true fire, we should process this prominent thought. Suffering is part of God’s idea. He has plans that hinge on our pain. It has been deliberately placed into our lives.
A competent pharmacist will be extremely aware of the drug he is filling for a patient. Never too much, nor too little. God is even more meticulous and acutely alert when it comes to suffering and pain. He has an intense love for you through it all. He drops in the proper amount needed for that moment. It is confined and designed to heal, grow, and strengthen. Never to harm or destroy. He is not punishing you.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Keller understood. She was both deaf and blind, since infancy. From this dark and complete isolation, she broke through. Helen Keller became a potent and significant woman. She would graduate from college and became a famed public speaker of international renown.
“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son” (see Romans 8:28-29).
Gold fears no fire.
We must believe pain has purposes. Life teaches us how to love. Some seem to go through life “charmed”, they are really not hurt in any substantial way. If that is the case, reach out and help someone else, for there’s certainly enough pain and evil to go around. (We should find ourselves actively sharing in the trials of others.)
I think that when a believer finally arrives in heaven, they will be ushered in limping, wounded, leaning on an angel for support. They will bring it all to Jesus, their scars remembered, and their sins forgiven. And we will be transformed, fit for heaven.