Ball of Responsibility


“Everybody talkin’ ’bout prayer ain’t doing it…”

Carrying others’ burdens is a prayer exercise…

Written By: Ray S.  Edited By: Phil D.

Passage: Ephesians 1:15-2:10

Focus: “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”  Ephesians 1:16.

I am often asked by different people to remember them in prayer.  I want to take that kind of request seriously—even though my memory isn’t great.  We certainly don’t need to look far to find prayer needs.  They’re all around us.  In fact, their volume can be overwhelming.  The Bible definitely promotes prayer, not the least of which is the instruction of Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  But there are many who seem to have little understanding of the principle of prayer and wish to use it kind of like they would use a magical genie—seeking supernatural help toward achieving their own wishes.

Responsibility ballTo those types I usually try to hit the responsibility ball back into their court and say something like, “Yes, I will pray for you.  But something more important is that YOU pray for you.  God hears the cry of sincere and hungry human hearts that want to know Him and please Him.”

For some, that kind of comment goes over like a lead balloon.  They’re not the least bit interested in talking to God themselves.  They’re only interested in getting what they want.

I do want to pray for people and their real needs, but my general view is that all my own prayers do not amount to a hill of beans on behalf of someone who is not interested in seeking God and praying for themselves.  So my prayer focus is that God will graciously influence their “want to.”

After all, the omniscient God is certainly no gullible dummy Who feels all flattered to hear His human creatures quoting shallow artificial prayer clichés as though they were magic formulas.  Like the rest of us, He’s most interested in investing where He will gain a return—returned love, worship, and surrender.

Paul’s prayer here for the believers at Ephesus (1:16-23) is a wonderful prayer.  But if prayer is human expression directed to God, why did he put this prayer in print for humans to read?  Maybe for two reasons:

  1. So these believers could hear something of Paul’s heart and concern for them, and
  2. So that they might be able to pray this basic prayer for themselves.  At least they could participate by saying, “Amen.”

I’ve decided to write out my own prayer based on the essential model of Paul’s prayer.  Maybe you would like to pick up on it as a prayer for you.  I would encourage that.

“Dear Glorious Father God, I praise You for the provision You have made for me to approach You through the awesome Name and work of Your Son, Jesus Christ. 

I desire to make it my honest priority in life to serve You, to please You, and to know You better. 

I am very aware that my own wisdom and knowledge are not sufficient to pull this off successfully.  So I desperately need Your Spirit to work in me to achieve Your purposes, and to receive wisdom and revelation that can only come from You. 

I pray for Your help in gaining and maintaining a properly balanced view of life, and eternity, being mindful of the incredible plan, both here and hereafter, that You have for all those who love and serve You. 

While I may never be able to see the total picture as You do, I want to be sufficiently mindful of the infinite power that is Yours, which You employed in accomplishing my salvation, and which You continue to make available to Your people as a means of victory over sin, Satan, deception, and death. 

In other words, Lord, please be free to build Your Church in me.  Amen.”

My hope is this will help you to have a fresh dimension in your understanding of the vital importance of prayer and your role in utilizing it.

……………………………………

“Prayer is not a device for getting our wills done through heaven,

but a desire that God’s will be done on earth through us.”

 

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