Be smart and strategic in your prayers

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Be smart, be strategic”
Our Bible verse for today: “I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Be smart and strategic in your prayers”
As I write this it is early Wednesday morning and my thoughts have already turned to the weekly prayer meeting we’ll have at our church tonight. That reminded me of something I read recently from author John White in his book, “Daring to Draw Near”. In it he challenged his readers to consider how the Apostle Paul described his own praying for his Ephesian friends in Ephesians 1:17-21. In that passage Paul said that he prays for God to give them a spirit of wisdom, an enlightened heart, hope, an understanding of their glorious inheritance, and an appreciation for God’s power in their lives. Here’s what White wrote about that. It’s a lengthy quote but worth it:
“What requests did Paul make for his Ephesian friends? Pause a moment. You are writing a letter to a friend for whom you pray fairly regularly. What will you tell him? “I do pray for you, Jack. I’m asking God to bless you and to lead you. I really pray. I pray he’ll bless you richly.”
            What do the words mean? What does bless mean? Is the word an excuse on your part for not being specific? Is it too much trouble to think out a specific request? It is easier of course if Jack has pneumonia, or if Jack’s girlfriend has just been killed in a car accident. You can get your teeth into prayer under such circumstances. But if nothing dramatic is happening to Jack and if he’s a Christian who’s getting along reasonably well in his Christian walk, how are you supposed to pray? Bless comes in handy. You probably use it at different times to mean such things as, “Do whatever is best for Jack and make things work out for him. Make him a better Christian in some way or another. Make him happy,” and so on.
Often our prayers for others are pretty vanilla, and somewhat half-hearted as a result. Sometimes that’s because we don’t really know how to pray for them. But we do know they need spiritual growth and that such growth will have a positive impact on every other area of their life. White went on, “You may need to begin praying something like this, “Lord, I don’t know how to pray for Jack. I thank you for bringing him to yourself. I know you have been working in his life. What is it he most needs? What are you trying to do in him?” Then pray for them like Paul prayed for his friends in Ephesus – for deep and meaningful spiritual growth.
Paul’s prayers for his friends in Ephesus were very spiritual and very specific. They were smart, strategic, and intentional prayers. That’s how we should pray for people too. Half-hearted general prayers are easy but also somewhat meaningless and probably only marginally effective. Strategic praying for areas of spiritual growth is what’s needed most.
God bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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