This is what it might be like to pray a prayer based on the things Paul prayed for other believers. Here is the first set of requests...
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18-19)
Father, your servant Paul, even though he had such respect for believers at Ephesus, knew that they did not know nearly enough about what You have really desired them to understand. As Paul asked You to enlighten their hearts, not just their minds, I ask for myself and those you have placed on my heart that you would give to us the same deep and ongoing enlightenment. I know that no matter how much I think I understand, I have not yet really begun to see everything the way You do. So please help me to understand all that the Scriptures say about enlightenment, all that Paul meant by this prayer, and help me not to deceive myself, or mistake any other form of understanding for true enlightenment. I desire to know more fully what this "hope of Your calling" should mean to me, and how my life should be changed by it. I desire to know what it means that You have an inheritance in us, and what Paul means by the "riches of the glory." I desire to know how Your power is to work in our lives, and to make myself more available to You when You choose to demonstrate Your power to others. Please help me to discover everything Jesus said about these things, so that You can use His own words to teach and enlighten me."
Here is Paul's second set of prayer requests for the believers in Ephesus.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend ...what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 edited)
Father, help me to understand what it means to be "strengthened" by Your Spirit in my "inner being." Is Paul saying that this is how Jesus lives in my heart? And what does faith have to do with this? Is there something specific that I am to believe that makes this possible? I can guess what being "rooted and grounded in love" means, but I am sure that I don't know all that Paul meant by that, because he connects that "love" to Jesus' love for me. Paul seems to be really focused on Jesus' love, and wanted them to understand it in a very comprehensive way and yet he says that Jesus' love "surpasses knowledge." Help me to be aware of all that Jesus did as a mortal that would show me what His love is really like. Please show me what He has already done in my own life that should have taught me about His love. Paul also seems to be saying that as Jesus lives in my heart, and I am strengthened by Your Spirit, that I will be "filled up." I have no idea what that means. Sometimes I am just happy, sometimes my confidence overflows, sometimes I am so in awe of You that I have to shake it off in order to get anything else done. Is that what Paul is talking about? I really don't understand how this works. Is Paul talking about the next life? Help me! I do desire Jesus to live in my heart. Please give me the faith, the strength and the understanding you want me to have.
As you can tell, sometimes Paul's prayers require us to think hard about what he really meant. But it is worth it. Anything is better than praying poorly because we didn't ask God to help us understand what we were doing. Here is Paul's prayer request for the Colossians.
...we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience... (Colossians 3:9-11)
Wow, Father! That is a lot to think about. Why does Paul keep talking about being "filled?" Is knowing Your will with "spiritual wisdom and understanding" different than what I ususally mean when I am trying to find Your will about something? Is it really possible that I could live in a way that is "worthy of Jesus?" Could anything I ever do really please Him? Father, the idea that I could please You in "every way" is unbelievable! Bearing fruit would be nice. Knowing You more and more is what I really desire. Why does Paul keep refering to "strengthening" and "power"? Is he talking about long term endurance and not short term "power"? Well, that would make sense. OK, here goes: Father, please help me to stay on course no matter what happens in my life, and help me to know everything you want me to know. Keep me from misunderstanding spiritual things. I really would like to be pleasing to You, especially in this "fruit bearing" thing, and to know Your will at all times. Thanks.
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