If I asked you to complete this prayer today, how would you finish it?
“God, grant me the power to __________.”
God, grant me the power to be patient with my family?
God, grant me the power to fix this problem at work or at home?
God, grant me the power to resist temptation?
God, grant me the power to forgive?
God, grant me the power to change the things I can change?
God, grant me the power to move on after a traumatic experience?
God, grant me the power to ___________.
Those are all great prayers. In fact, the scriptures teach us to pray about the circumstances of our lives and to approach our loving God with our requests for help. Sometimes when we ask for God’s power to be at work in us, we are asking for the power to overcome something that is challenging us.
When the Apostle Paul prays for power for the church in Ephesians chapter 3, he doesn’t pray that we would have power to overcome an obstacle. As we saw on Sunday in the sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn (which you can listen to here if you missed worship), Paul asks God to give the church the power to grow to maturity in Christ.
Paul prays that God will strengthen us with power through his Spirit in our inner being that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, and Paul prays that we might have power to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ. In both cases, the prayer is about our becoming increasingly rooted in Christ and our growing into the fullness of the person God wants us to be. Paul models for us a prayer of spiritual ambition, asking that we would be empowered by the Spirit to not fossilize at our current level of spiritual maturity.
So let me invite you to pray accordingly. Pray about your families, your job, your temptations and your spiritual hang-ups for sure. But pray also that God would pour out his Spirit on you and on the others in your church community to be filled with all the fullness of God. Pray that you would be progressively rooted and grounded in God’s love. Pray that God’s power would be at work in you to shape your inner being more and more into the shape of Jesus Christ.
Grateful to be praying our way toward maturity with you,