Stop Praying for More Blessings! – Ephesians 1

 

Stop Praying for Blessings!

“17I 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. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”  Ephesians 1:17-20 NIV (emphasis mine)

I wonder if I had my prayer life wrong when I prayed for people.  In the years that I have gotten to follow Jesus and be a part of the church, I must have prayed over thousands of prayer requests; from healing from cancer and illness, new job situations, strained finances, severed relationships, comfort for the afflicted or those in mourning, and the list goes on and on.  I have prayed for churches to grow, ministries to thrive, and leaders to be developed.

I find it interesting today to read what Paul prays for on behalf of the believers in Ephesus. Because these Gentile believers are dealing with opposition from cults, it would be easy for Paul to pray for them to be stronger and more influential.  The new believers then, like what often happens today as well, are also facing pressure from influences from within the church to conform into Jewish rituals (dietary laws, circumcision, and the religious calendar).  Surely it would make sense for Paul to pray for their protection from harm and for them to be free from persecution. 

Instead, Paul tells about his prayers for the Ephesians.  He says, “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.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…”  Paul, never prays for them to be free of obstacles, nor does he pray for them to have wealth, better jobs, or stronger relationship with one another.  He prays instead for them to be granted the Spirit of wisdom and that they be granted revelation from God so they might know Him better.  He prays that the eyes of their hearts would be opened and that they would know the hope that Christ offers. 

I often pray for blessings to come.  Paul prays instead that understanding from the Holy Spirit comes first to bring wisdom, so that when the blessings come, they can be recognized.  This is by no means saying that prayer for healing from cancer and illness, new job situations, strained finances, severed relationships, comfort for the afflicted or those in mourning are wrong.  By no means!  However, far too many times God blesses me with health, a strong family, finances to provide for my family, a church home, and an income, but I fail to recognize them and be grateful because I have not been open to, “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”   

Maybe I need to stop praying only for more blessings, and start praying for more wisdom from the Holy Spirit, and revelation from Him so I may steward well the blessings He does give.  More wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit comes with blessings included.

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