The Focus

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” Ephesians 3:14-16

It is possible to slice Scripture so thin, that it becomes gossamer platitudes fit for a Hobby Lobby throw pillow, but it no longer resembles the meat of The Word. On the other hand, swallowing whole passages without gaining an appreciation for the contents of God’s Word may lead to consuming and assuming without absorbing and applying the truth of Scripture.

There is so much man-made insight published on the subject of prayer, that it always pays to return to the Word of God to rediscover the basis for it, and the focus of it.

For Jesus, The Son of God, and for Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, The Focus of Prayer was always on The Father. When Jesus led His disciples in The Model Prayer, He began with, “Our Father.”  When Paul interceded for the Church in Ephesus to prayer, he focused on The Father.

Prayer takes the eyes of the prayer warrior off of the battle of the moment or the crisis of the day, and focuses them on The Father.  Though Paul does not mention the word prayer, it is obvious that prayer is the meaning of his words when he says, “I bow my knees.”

Bowed heads and bended knees are ancient symbols of humility, and always appropriate positions for the serious prayer warrior. The arena of prayer is where pride comes to die. Prayer is the expression of the heart. The position of the exterior position of the body should reflect what is going on in the inner recesses of the heart.

No doubt this symbolic position of prayer is not always a sign of genuine prayer. It is possible for the position to be hijacked by a poser, but if implemented by believers it is a great source of blessing. Believers who come to the end of their own resources discover,  “the riches of His glory.”

Paul discovered this truth time and time again. Facing his own spiritual poverty led this prayer warrior to a face-to- face encounter with The Father. For believers who are willing to follow his lead, they discover this only happens…EVERY TIME.

Too many times people come to The Father in prayer, and race right past Him to get to His riches, His strength, His Spirit, or His power. They miss Him. The cry of their inner man is so great that they don’t hear the gentle words of The Father saying, “Welcome home.”

It is not enough to know a need exists in the inner man that only The Father can meet. The Focus of Prayer is on meeting with The Father, not the meeting of the need.  Big difference.

The Quiet Time and The Prayer Meeting have always been great great tools for meeting with The Father. They serve well, as long as meeting with The Father is The Focus.  Quickly completing a Quiet Time or fidgeting one’s way through a Prayer Meeting does not always lead prayer warriors to a face-to-face encounter with their own spiritual poverty.

Note to self: Putting a check mark by your Quiet Time on your Day Timer doesn’t always lead to “the riches of His glory.” When your Quiet Time becomes His time, it will.

Taking pride, in having a Quiet Time or in attending a Prayer Meeting,  is still an expression of PRIDE. The Father hates it. Jesus turned from it. Paul took no pleasure in it. Prayer is meant to put it to death. Prayer warriors willing to die to their pride will be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Paul confessed, “I die daily.” Follow his lead, and humbly bend your knees in the presence of The Father. He condescends to spend time with you. Don’t be in a hurry to run away and get on with your day. As country folks used to say, “Take a load off. Rest* a spell.” City folks would be wise to take their advice.

*R.E.S.T. – Release Every Single Thing