A Prayer for Empowerment


Bottled sand art by a local artisan in Petra, Jordan

I have come to love this prayer of Paul:

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritt of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:15-21 NIV)

In reflecting on it now, I’m struck by God’s “incomparably great power” for us through our trust. I need the Spirit to give me a greater facility in trusting God’s powerful presence and intervention. I still often default to anxiety which is rooted in a self-conscious, self-focused, self-limited perspective. “I don’t think I can do that…” becomes a dead-end to creativity, courage, hope, resourcefulness and so on.

“Father, I need what Paul asks here in opening my heart’s eyes wider and clearer to see the hopeful, fruitful future You’ve prepared for us, the riches You’ve invested in each of us and all of us as Your people—Your heirs, and the power beyond measure accessible to us through our living attentively dependent on Jesus. May I come to believe and practically trust that You still want to work among us on the same scale as Your mighty work in raising Jesus from the dead, seating Him in authority in Your heavenly dimension for all time.”

How does this prayer intersect with where you find yourself in life and ministry today?

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How to Pray: Strategic Leadership


Sky over Cambria, CA

Friday afternoon, I enjoyed meeting with a group of leaders who are, together, developing a spiritual transformation process for an international ministry organization. One of our shared practices is to invest a significant chunk of time reflecting on scripture, individually and in conversation.

On Friday, we met for four hours. We set aside a full hour for individual reflection on our passage, Ephesians 1:15-23. We then spent time back together interacting about what God’s Spirit seemed to be impressing on us about where our spiritual transformation process has been, is and where God seems to be leading it. Here’s that passage:

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritt of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

I always assume that a biblical prayer like this is showing me something I need. (Why would Paul ask for something that we didn’t need?). A practice that helps me gain insight into those needs is to write down questions that the passage seems to be asking me. Here are the questions that came in my reflection time. I wonder if one of them would be a good place for you to reflect further on how this prayer might intersect with your journey at this time:

In what ways could my Christian life be summarized as trusting Jesus and loving people? In what ways might He be seeking to simplify my life in this direction? (15)

How is Jesus inviting me into a regular practice of giving thanks and praying for my fellow Christ followers? (16)

How is the Father wanting to give me the gift of His Spirit enabling me to know Him better? (17)

What good things am I not currently noticing that Jesus desires for me to have eyes wide open to? What realities does He want me to realize and understand better? (18)

Do I realize what a treasure the people around me really are? What are some particular ways I am benefitting from God’s riches in them? (18)

In what ways does Jesus desire to open my heart’s eyes to see my hope, my riches and my power in Him? What false perceptions of hopelessness, scarcity or helplessness does He want to expose? (18-19)

How is God wanting me to assume that the power available to me for the work of His kingdom is on the same scale as the resurrection itself? (20)

Where is God wanting me to realize the reign of Jesus in my life, my family and my ministry? (20-22)

In what ways is God inviting me to participate in the wider body of Christ (bigger than my current church, ministry, or organization)? (22-23)

Let me know if one of these questions seems to especially hit home. If you’re willing, I’d love to see comments of response to one of these questions if you end up taking some time to take a next step with one of them.