July 29, 2011

The Prayer You Can Always Pray

"..I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." --Ephesians 3:14-19, NIV

A few years ago, I attended a women's retreat during which we broke into small groups after lunch and took turns praying for each other. I'd joined a table of women I didn't know before attending the retreat. The session leader took us to this passage in Ephesians and instructed us to find a partner at our table and for each partner team to take turns praying for each other by inserting our partner's name into the prayer above. Whenever a pronoun appeared in the text ("you"), we were to insert our partner's name while we prayed aloud for them.

The energy in the room was incredible while we all participated in this exercise of prayer and the experience stuck with me. As I read through the New Testament earlier this year, I realized this is a prayer that can be prayed for anyone: friend, enemy, distant relative, child, spouse, co-worker, boss, pastor, neighbor--anyone.

No matter what your relationship with someone, don't the words of this prayer describe what you would really want for them? Even in the case of an enemy, wouldn't you want Paul's words to be true for them? If nothing else, that person would no longer be an enemy to you!

This is the prayer you can always pray. If you have no one to pray for, pray this prayer for yourself. In good times and in bad times, this prayer will carry us to the place God wants us.

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