“I (Paul)…do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe.” Ephesians 1:16—19
Paul’s prison experience provided a perspective only imprisonment could produce. When his horizontal mobility was reduced, he increased his accessibility to God in a vertical direction. Paul could no longer go out on mission for God, but he would reach up in intercession to God.
I recently received a letter from a man in prison. Though he is incarcerated, he has the capacity to see more clearly the path that put him behind bars. His letter was filled with shouts of warning to those on the outside to walk around the landmines in life. Prisoners may have been foolish enough to get caught in a trap, but it doesn’t mean they cannot be a source of wisdom to avoid the pitfalls.
In Paul’s case, he had been no fool. He had been a follower of Jesus Christ. His incarceration was a result of intimidation and persecution on the part of others, not a result of rebellion on his part. Big difference.
Paul wrote the brief Bible Books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from a Roman jail, in the form of letters to friends and followers. These Prison Epistles were written to be read to the church that gathered in then name of Jesus. Ephesians contains a strong call for unity in the church.
Paul was a praying preacher. When his audience with others was curtailed, he invested his passion for preaching into intercession for others. He began by thanking God for believers. Without believers there are no converts and no church.
Most preachers value their oration over their intercession, yet powerful preaching and believing prayer are partners. When some preachers are asked to pray, they lead with a sermonette, as a preamble to their prayer. They place more value on their own words of wisdom than seeking wisdom from God. Oration never improves intercession. It only delays it.
Paul prayed for his followers to have wisdom and to be enlightened. He was convinced God was the source of both. The wise preacher will unplug his people from himself and connect them to God. A wise parent understands that their children must be plugged into God if they are going to become all that God intended for them to be. They pray without delay.
Praying preachers and praying parents are key components to building healthy churches and healthy homes. Believing prayer on behalf of preachers and parents open up the eyes of their congregations and children to “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!