STUDY #6: PRAYING FOR POWER

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1 STUDY #6: PRAYING FOR POWER This week we are going to consider another of Paul s prayers from the book of Ephesians. Last time we saw that Paul prayed that God would enlighten the Ephesians to know his incomparably great power for us who believe (1:19). In this next prayer, Paul get s more specific on this theme of power. Read Ephesians 3:14-21 We are going to split this prayer into the two main points, each relating to God s power. A. Strengthened in your Inner Being 1. Paul s first prayer point runs from v16-17a. What characterises the power Paul prays for here (e.g. where is it from where is it found where is it active?)? 2. Paul prays that God s power would strengthen the Ephesians in their inner being. This is literally the inner man. Let s consider what he means by this. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 a. What is Paul referring to when he speaks about what happens to Christians outwardly (lit. in the outer man ) and inwardly (lit. in the inner man )? b. From these verses, how would you define the inner being? c. [Back to Ephesians 3] What does Paul want God s power to do to the inner being? What will the result of this be?

2 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (v17) 3. Every Christian has Christ dwelling in them by his Spirit (Romans 8:9), but here Paul s use of the word dwell carries the idea of being at home or settling down as one of the family. a. What does this tell us about the work that God is doing in the Christian inner being? a. What are the signs that this is taking place in the Christian? (Compare with passages like Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:5-17) B. Power to Grasp Now we consider Paul s second petition regarding God s power (3:17b- 19) 4. Notice that the power prays for in this petition operates differently to that prayed for in the earlier verses. What is Paul praying God s power would accomplish here? 5. From the passage, what shows us that Paul is praying for Christians to be more than to intellectually grasp the love of Christ? 6. How often do we speak in terms of experiencing the love of Christ? Should we expect to experience it? Consider some of the following Scriptures and discuss whether you can relate to what s being described: Psalm 27:4; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:5 2

3 7. What is the ultimate goal of Paul s prayer for power (v19)? What does he mean by this? (cp. Ephesians 5:18) How often is this our ambition in the Christian life? [Paul] prays that they may receive not any attribute of God, or any gift of His, not love, not knowledge, not strength but no less than the very highest he can pray for, the full indwelling of God. F. Foulkes How has God spoken to you through this study? To finish Take time to pray in your group Give thanks o For the power of God at work in your life. o For the love of Christ towards you. Pray to know more of the love of Christ Pray to know God better Pray these things for each other. Take a note of specific prayer points in your group and pray for them in the week: 3

4 STUDY #7: SEEKING PRAYER FOR MINISTRY Over the course of these studies we have considered Paul s prayers we have seen him praying for holiness, for greater knowledge of God, for God s power, for inner transformation, just to name a few things. However in this final study we are going to consider Paul s request for prayer for his own ministry. You will find the prayer in Romans 15:30-33, but it will be helpful to read the broader context. Read Romans 15:14-33 A. Earnest Prayers 1. Consider Paul s call to prayer form v30. a. What in these verses reveals the seriousness of Paul s request? (cp. the language of Romans 12:1) b. On what basis does he appeal to the Romans here? Why is this so convincing? (cp. Philippians 2:1-2) 2. What kind of experience in prayer is Paul calling them to? Read some of the following verses and discuss how often your experience of the spiritual life is characterised like this: Ephesians 6:12 Colossians 1:28-2:1 Colossians 4:12. 4

5 B. Prayers For Ministry This is not the only time we find Paul asking for others to pray for him. 3. Consider these examples of Paul seeking prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5: Corinthians 1:8-11 Philemon 22. What characterises his requests? What seem to be his priorities? 4. From the verses previous to this prayer (in Romans 15), why is Paul intending to travel to Jerusalem? 5. In Romans 15:31, Paul wants prayer for two specific things related to his ministry to Jerusalem. a. What are they? b. What do you think it would mean for this mission to be acceptable to the saints (cp. 2 Corinthians 9:12-15) c. What would be equivalent prayer points for people in ministry today? Can you give specific examples? C. Bigger Plans 6. Paul s prayers are not just for the trip to Jerusalem. a. What is the bigger picture Paul has in view? (cp. Romans 15:20-24 & 1:11-13) 5

6 b. How easy do you find it to pray for things beyond the immediate/urgent? What would Paul s sort of ambition look like in our own lives, or in the life of the church? 7. Of the three requests in prayer in vv31-32, it seems that only one of them was answered in the way Paul would have liked (that his service in Jerusalem would be acceptable to the saints). He was arrested in Jerusalem and it seems that he never did make it to Spain. a. What misconceptions about prayer are corrected when we see the apostle Paul experiencing unanswered prayers? b. Consider another example of Paul s unanswered prayers in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. What lessons did Paul draw from his unanswered prayers? How do you tend to respond to unanswered prayers? To finish Apply this week s study in prayer Pray for God to grant you an earnestness in prayer Pray for genuine partnership in prayer o With your church leaders o With your missionaries Pray for protection for those in full- time ministry Pray for God to grant you and us an ambitious long- term vision for Gospel work. Pray for God s wisdom where there is unanswered prayer. Pray for each other. 6

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