35. LEARNING TO PRAY BETTER

GOD IS OUR Father and He will hear and answer prayers that meet His approval. While we content ourselves in asking for physical things, He waits patiently to give us His spiritual treasures. The rich resources available to the child of God go practically untapped as we live on a lower plane, seemingly ignorant of their existence.

We can learn much from the prayers of Paul. His was a prayer life that soared in the heights. He suggests four pointers for prayer in his prayer for the Ephesians, found in Ephesians 1:15-23. Here is a quartet of benefits — blessings waiting to be given, waiting for the asking.

“Wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of Him.” God would have us be perceptive spiritually. True knowledge is not just fact-knowledge. It is insight — it is understanding. God will give the Christian a spirit of wisdom and understanding, if he will ask for it.

“In the knowledge of Him,” he says. This might mean the knowledge from God, but here the sense seems rather to be a knowledge of the Father Himself. We know about God, but we are also to know Him. This is not just knowledge of God’s attributes — omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etcetera — it is a saving knowledge of God, as Father, as friend, as Savior.

“Know the hope of His calling.” The more we know about the final end of God’s purpose, the better and more joyfully we will serve Him now. That hope is not just a paradise for an intangible soul. It is a real resurrection of our body — a body transformed like Christ’s glorious body. It will be a body incapable of death or pain. It will be immune to Satan’s temptations — Satan will be destroyed.

“His inheritance in the saints.” Here Paul says that the saints will be God’s inheritance. When all the material universe is gone, all that God will have left of His work will be the redeemed saints. They are His inheritance. Paul prays that we might know how much we mean to God, and how valuable we are in His sight. We are God’s inheritance.

“The exceeding greatness of His power.” The words amplify the meaning, like so many transformers leading from one to the other. We can have power. There is greatness of power. There is an exceeding greatness of power. This is God’s power to the believer, to enable him to live for God (see Philippians 2:13).

This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. How much power did it take to raise a dead man? We cannot even understand the power involved in the NASA moon-flights. Yet God’s power is infinitely more than that. This power can be ours-if we ask for it.

Let us learn to pray for better things. Let us seek to know God more intimately. Let us pray for understanding and insight, for power to please Him in our lives. And let us thank God for letting us share with Christ in His glory, as members of His Body (Ephesians 1:22,23).