Praying for God’s family
I’ve been reading through Ephesians lately. It’s one of those go-to books of the Bible for me. I can easily jump into any chapter, any verse and find wisdom for the day. I think a lot of that has to do with Paul’s mission to reach the foreigner, the alien, and count all as brothers and sisters once faith had bound them together.
Ephesians is one of Paul’s prison letters, written to believers in Ephesus while he was on house arrest. His letters are often full of theological treatises and lay the foundation for much of what we teach in our local congregations. But his letters are also personal, caring, and full of deep love and concern.
One aspect of Paul’s letters are particularly inspiring to me: his prayers. They challenge me to think of my relationship to the Church, to those throughout the world who share citizenship in heaven. Paul’s prayers challenge me to go deep in my prayers for these same believers. To go deep in requests for faith, and to consider the real needs of those challenged each day to live for Christ.
Normally, when I do pray for people, I have to admit that my prayers are limited to those I know and for mostly physical needs – pain, suffering, loss. These are all good and necessary requests. But Paul’s prayers model the deeper connection we all have, through faith, with the entire family of God. Paul writes, For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. (Ephesians 3:14-15) So we are connected deeply.
And we can ask for the deep things of faith for each other. To know love that surpasses knowledge (vs 19), to be filled to the measure of all of the fullness of God (vs 19), and to grasp the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (vs 18). Together with all of the saints (vs 18), our family. For we carry His name.