“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend will 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. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. AMEN.” Ephesians 3:14-21
The Cause of Prayer determines the intensity and the consistency of effective prayer. Believing prayer is always a prelude to answered prayer. Paul believed in The Cause. Two signs reveal a great deal about a person’s walk with God. The first sign is what causes them to panic. The second sign is what causes them to pray.
Paul believed in The Cause, not panic. The Ephesian believers had come to Christ through him. If they became intimidated by Paul’s persecution and imprisonment, they would not share the message of hope in Christ, they had received from Paul.
Prayerless people fail to witness because they are scared out of their wits. Paul desired for the believers in Ephesus to keep their wits about them, and tell people about Jesus in spite of what had happened to him. Paul prayed for the Ephesians not to be overwhelmed or disheartened by his imprisonment. His intercession for them was done with intense passion.
“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” Ephesians 3:13
Two thousand years ago, one imprisoned man could sense that there was more at stake than his own personal crisis. He broke out of a focus on his own needs, and entered into intercession on behalf of others. The stakes were too high for him to turn his crisis into an excuse for a pity party. He called a prayer meeting.
Rather than focus on the release from prison he wanted, Paul prayed for the increase of faith these early believers needed. Paul’s imprisonment caused him to double down on intercession, rather than spiral into introspection.
Paul’s call to ministry began by being knocked to the ground. This should have been a warning sign to him of things to come. Paul’s life took on a familiar pattern. He was hit by crisis after crisis. His response was to hit back with prayer.
Perhaps Paul teaches is his greatest lesson in prayer by his consistent response to being knocked to his knees by various life experiences. While he was down on his knees, and before he got up, Paul prayed.
Note to self: It is never too early or too late to pray. Before you stand up, stay down, and pray. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!