The year 2016 has been the 'Year of the New Testament' for Champion Presbyterian Church. This week, we are reading through Paul's letter to the Ephesians.  While there are numerous passages I could focus on, I'm going to take us to Paul's prayer for the Ephesian Christians in chapter 1, verses 15-23.  This is a wonderful model prayer for us today.

Paul begins his prayer by giving thanks for the Christians in Ephesus.  So much of our life in church is bound up with quality relationships with faithful people whom we join in serving our Lord.  How often have we received a word of encouragement?  How often have we accomplished a mission together?  How often have they expressed their concern for us during a challenging time?  Giving thanks in prayer for the faithful people around us is a good discipline to practice every day.  Reminds us how many people care about us.

In verse 17, Paul prays that the Ephesian Christians would have the Spirit of wisdom.    We are praying for the counsel of God.  How do we weave our way through the challenges and complexities of life?  There are so many areas of life that seem gray.  How do we discern what our responses should be?  Life is shouting for our need for wisdom from God.

Paul also prays in verse 17 for the Spirit of revelation.  I believe the context of this phrase has to do with understanding and applying the truth of God's Word in the Bible.  The more we read and study, the more we understand.  The more we understand, the more we apply to daily living.  In the end, the Bible is a practical book on how to live in challenging times.  It is as we pray together and study together, we discover revelation of truth from the Bible that helps on a daily basis.

He next asks God to enlighten the eyes of the hearts of the Ephesian Church in verse 18.  God wants them, and us, to see the world that we live in, as He sees the world we live in.  This gives us the heart of Jesus as He walked on this earth.  What a great privilege that God would give us His view of life.

So many of the gifts God gives us lead us to know the hope He wants for us.  By connecting with our Lord in prayer on a daily basis, we are constantly reminded of our hope.  We all need hope for tomorrow.  Pray diligently to live with hope.  Pray for specific people you know that they will be filled with hope.

Ultimately, our hope is in heaven.  Paul writes in verse 18 that we have a 'glorious inheritance' waiting for us in heaven.  This hope is not an 'I wish' kind of thing.  This hope is a promise of our future granted by our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is where all the hurts and pains are removed from our lives.  This hope energizes us to serve our Lord.

Lastly in this passage, Paul prays in verse 19 for the Ephesian followers of Jesus to be filled with the power of God.  The power Paul prays for is the same power that raised Jesus from death to life.  This is the power that works through our lives and changes people from the inside out.  We do not trust in our skills and abilities alone when we serve Jesus.  We trust Jesus to take those skills and abilities and multiply their effectiveness.  God alone knows what great things we can accomplish through His power.