Content Of Paul’s Prayers Part 2

Requested Spiritual Understanding
 
As we consider the content of Paul’s prayers, it’s important to note that he requested spiritual
understanding. I do think Paul prayed for material things. We know that he asked for the
removal of his “thorn in the flesh,” and he prayed for others who were sick. He also prayed that
they might have a good journey. So he did pray for material things. But the interesting thing
here is that Paul was not praying for physical advantages or material possessions.
You and I are surfeited with secularism in our contemporary society. Today we even measure
spiritual enterprises by that which is material, and that is unfortunate. I believe that right now
some of the finest works of God are suffering financially. This business today of saying God is
blessing a ministry or a church simply because the money is pouring in is totally false — I can
name a whole lot of religious rackets that are bringing in the money, my friend. Prosperity is not
the measure of success, not before God.
Spiritual understanding is what Paul prays for, and certainly this is what we need.
 
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
 
You will find the same thought back in chapter 1:
 
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17, 18)
 
Paul was praying here for that which is spiritual, that they might have illumination and understanding
and know the love of Christ. How many times do we pray for that? Frankly, that is
what I’d like to have. “Oh,” you say, “don’t you want to pray for health?” Yes. “Don’t you want
to pray that all obligations be met?” Yes. But after we’ve done that, what about spiritual understanding?
Paul says it passes knowledge. This means your IQ won’t help you here. It is something
that only the Spirit of God can give you.
 
For Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10)
 
The Spirit is the One who leads us and guides us into all truth. We need today to have a fresh
anointing of the Spirit of God to understand divine truth.
I am amazed at the error that is creeping into the church today. In fact, I am overwhelmed by
it. Heresy is breaking out all over. Why? Because we haven’t been praying for that which passes
knowledge. We need to be praying for a spiritual understanding of the Word of God, my friend.
Never have we needed that as we need it in this hour. I see man after man going off on a tangent.
Men who I never dreamed would veer from the truth are today veering from the truth. We
need to pray for each other that the “eyes of our understanding” be opened and that we may
understand divine truth.
Now it may seem to you that I’m way out in left field when I say that. Perhaps you are saying,
“I’ve been praying for a new automobile — the new models are coming out and I need a
new car. Isn’t it all right to pray about that?” Sure. But when you pray for that, also ask for a little
understanding about how to drive it, as well as a little spiritual knowledge — spiritual
knowledge to understand divine truths.
 
Requested Spiritual Power
 
That’s not all. Paul requested spiritual power, and spiritual power is not measured by horses
or kilowatts or what is under the hood of a car. Will you listen to him:
 
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. (Ephesians 1:19)
 
He said, in essence, “I’m praying that you not only have an understanding but that you have a
power, a dynamic, in your life.” What is that power? Well, the norm back in the Old Testament
was the power of Jehovah “which brought you out of Egypt”; that was always the measuring
rod of power. God would say to Israel, “I will do this for you, and I am Jehovah who brought
you out of the land of Egypt.” That was power. He did it by miracle-working power. That was
the norm then, but that is not the norm today for believers.
The norm today is this:
 
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:20)
 
That is resurrection power. Paul could say, “…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…”
(Philippians 3:10). What do you and I know today about resurrection power? What
do we know of having that power which worked in Jesus, brought Him up from the dead, and
put Him at God’s right hand? Think with me for a moment. As long as you and I are in these
earthly bodies, we will never get rid of this old nature, but this old nature needs to be put in the
place of death in order that we might live by the power of the Holy Spirit working through our
new nature. Do we know anything about that power today? Have you felt that power surging
through you?
 
I used to have a powerful fast car. You know, I had to watch the
speedometer all the time because of the tremendous power of this car. One time I was driving, and I was going a hundred miles an hour before I knew it — but the police
officer knew it! I just put my foot down on the accelerator, and oh, what power! But, I wish
that kind of power was in my life. Wouldn’t you like to start living by that kind of power? Oh,
not under a hood, but that power that raised Jesus from the dead! And that’s not all of it. God’s
power that raised Jesus from the dead also “set him at his own right hand in the heavenly
places.”
Power! I’ll tell you what is power: Paul said, in effect, “I pray that the power, which brought
Jesus back from the dead and then took Him off this earth in a glorified body back yonder to
God’s right hand, might work in you.” We need to pray for that, do we not? And honestly, do we
know much about that kind of power? Is our praying today really laying hold of God?
I’ll tell this corny story, if you don’t mind. The first time I went to an airport, a group of students took me on a tour. They asked if I’d like to see the “flying field.”
(They call them airports today.) I said, “Well I’ve been wanting to see a field fly.” I went out,
and I discovered this: you don’t do any flying on a flying field. That’s where you take off.
Flying is done up yonder.
Suppose you go out to the airport, you get into the plane, you race the motor, you roll down
the runway, and then you come back and put it in the hangar. We can say we’ve been out to the
airport and that we made it to the end of the runway, but we never took off! How many times do
we really take off in prayer?
How many times do we really pray? How many times do we really lay hold of God? I wonder
if God says, “Your prayer meetings are like flying fields. You ought to take off, but many of
you never do. You just race your motors and go back to the hangar, and you wonder why there
is no vitality. You wonder why there is no strength and why there is little interest in prayer today.”
 
Oh, may God teach us to pray, and to pray as the apostle Paul prayed!
 
 
 

 

 

 

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