As we move towards planting a new church on Sunday nights for Wahroonga and the neighbouring communities, we do so mindful that we are dependant on God for all that is ahead of us. Given that, what should we be praying?
Our next series of blogs are designed to lay at the foundation of this new church a wholehearted commitment to pray and to pray according to God's will. The next 6 blogs will unpack Ephesians 3.14-21 and outline 6 aspects of being a church that prays God's will.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
4 - Praying God's will means prayer that trusts Christ's love
When Christ dwells in your heart he starts to change you and you start to become more like him. Which brings us to the 4th truth this prayer reminds us of and that is the scope of the love of Christ.
One foundational way we must become like Christ is to start to love like Christ. This is why Paul next prays:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.
The foundation of the Christian life is love that is as deep and established as the roots of a giant tree. And this grows as we increase our understanding of Christ’s love.
Yet our little tiny human minds cannot perceive the size of the love of Christ. So Paul prays that God will give us the power just to grasp it.
Normally we speak of measuring things in 3 dimensions, but Christ’s love is measured in 4.
Christ’ love goes wide: wide enough to embrace the world (Jn 3:16)
Christ’ love is long: long enough to last forever (1 Cor 13:8)
Christ’s love is high enough to take sinners to Heaven (1 John 3:1,2)
Christ’s love is deep enough to take Christ to the very depths to reach the lowest sinner (Phil 2:8)
Grasping this love of Christ will be the key to our fledgling church plant growing because it will drive us together and send us out.
It will drive us together as we model our service of each other on Christ’s love. The one who came to knelt lower than his disciples to wash the filth from their feet as a testament of his service and a symbol that he would go even lower to wipe the wipe the sin from their heart. Our love is to surpass knowledge and move into action so that we serve each other like never before – then the world will know that we are his disciples.
And it will drive us out into the community because we will understand Christ’s love for them.
Oh that we would grasp Christ’s love for the sinful world. Christ wept when he thought of Jerusalem who had stubbornly turned away from him. Paul was moved to tears when he thought of the multitudes as enemies of cross. May we grasp the love of Christ for the sinner so that we are moved to tears and compelled to raise his banned in the world – that we might save some.
We are well taught in relation to Christ’s love. It is time for this love to surpass knowledge and move into action.