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The Journal

Praying for love

Dear Friends,
Paul’s prayer in
Ephesians 3:14-21 is one of the greatest prayers in the Bible it. It is a prayer that seeks God’s power to strengthen our inner being. So often as Christians we pray for our circumstances to change or for healing but not for spiritual strength to face our problems. We need spiritual strength so we can face doubts and fears and the pressure of the devil to turn away from God. We are strengthened by Christ dwelling us through faith. This is an amazing prayer because these people are already Christians. Why does Paul pray for these Christians that Christ may dwell in our hearts. Paul is concerned for Christian growth. This prayer for power is focused on God helping us to know the love of Christ more deeply. Paul uses 2 images, one from the agricultural world and the other from the building world. Paul is praying that our lives will be rooted in Christ’s love. That is that there will be depth in our relationship with and experience of Christ and His love. The second image speaks of being established meaning that we have our lives founded on Jesus and His love. This of course is revealed to us through the power of the Cross. In v18 Paul’s prayer recognises the importance of other Christians in the process of growing in faith. This has been the consistent message in Ephesians. You can’t grow in love by yourself. This growth comes within the context of the church. We need each other to grow in faith. Paul prays that we grasp this love. That is that God’s love takes hold of us. Ashley Null a renowned theologian who is an expert on Thomas Cranmer one of the English reformers says that Cranmer recognises that reformed faith is a faith of the heart. This is not synonymous with emotions. The heart includes mind and will and our affections. Our affections are what we love. Let me share a quote from Null. “According to Cranmer’s anthropology, what the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. The mind doesn’t direct the will. The mind is actually captive to what the will wants, and the will itself, in turn, is captive to what the heart wants. “The trouble with human nature is that we are born with a heart that loves ourselves over and above everything else in this world, including God. In short, we are born slaves to the lust for self-gratification, i.e., concupiscence. That’s why, if left to ourselves, we will always love those things that make us feel good about ourselves, even as we depart more and more from God and his ways. Therefore, God must intervene in our lives in order to bring salvation. AT 5pm we will look at Matthew 8:18-34 and it contains one of the saddest responses to Jesus in the Bible. The people saw the demon possessed men set free by Jesus and in their right mind and they begged Jesus to leave. They rejected Him despite seeing his power. This is shocking and still happens today. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara