am often struck by the difference between my prayers and those I read in the New Testament letters. Whereas mine can be selfish, apostolic prayers tend to be selfless. Whereas mine often focus on the temporal, apostolic prayers invariably focus on the eternal. One of the loveliest examples is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. Here Paul reveals his heart to the church as he writes:
Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.(Ephesians 1:15-18)
The report Paul has heard about this fledgling church is a good one. More moving still is the fact that he prays for them constantly. Considering my own admission, let’s look at what Paul prays. He asks that God would give them wisdom and insight sufficient that they may grow in their knowledge of him. That is stunning. It is a recognition that they (and we) require divine intervention to grow in our knowledge of God. In fact, the word that Paul uses for knowledge is itself revealing. Although we derive the word cognitive from it, Paul is not referring to something that is purely academic, but a knowledge that is obtained through first-hand experience.
In light of this, let us pray for ourselves and for one another. Pray that we would grow in the knowledge of God and not just in knowledge about God!
Yours and His, Gareth