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When Leaders Pray, Week Five
by Tom Goodman
May 29, 2008

I thank God you're using your spiritual gifts as a Hillcrest leader: teaching, counseling, organizing, inspiring, singing, playing an instrument, and so on.  But don't forget that one of your most important jobs is to pray for the people you serve.

We're taking a few weeks in LeaderLines to go through some of the prayers the Apostle Paul expressed for his people in his letters.  These prayers can serve as a valuable guide in your own prayers.  Last week we began to look at the prayer recorded in Ephesians 3:14-21.  He asked God to give the Ephesian believers two things: God's power and God's loveVerses 16-17 record his request for power:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Notice that Paul delineates the source from which the power comes, the channel through which the power flows, and the place to which the power goes.

First, the source from which the power comes:  It's "out of his glorious riches" that Paul looks for God to provide power for the Ephesian believers.

When my eldest was 3, I was pushing him in our backyard swing, listening to him sing "Jesus Loves Me."  He started out -- "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  Then he stopped, paused, and started over again -- "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  He knew there was more to the song, but he couldn't remember it.  I finished the song for him:  "Little ones to him belong; we are weak, but he is strong."

He smiled like I had done something silly and he said, "Daddy, you can't sing that song.  You're not weak; you're strong."

I said, "Well, compared to Jesus I'm weak.  He's much stronger than me."

He thought about that a moment and said, "Yes, you're not stronger than Jesus, because you can't make rainbows."

When you and I pray for God's power, we pray to the God who can make rainbows!  We should pray that out of his glorious riches he would supply power to those we love.

Second, the channel through which the power flows:  It's "through his Spirit" that we receive this power.

As our nation looks for alternative sources of energy, there's a renewed interest in windmills.  Engineers believe that the turbines being designed today can meet 10-25 percent of the nation's energy needs.  There's a power in the wind, and engineers are doing what they can to harness that power.

Paul prayed that the Ephesians believers would know the power of the divine wind -- the Holy Spirit.

Third, the place to which the power goes:  It's "in your inner being" where you most need to experience God's power.

There are, of course, other places for God to manifest his power.  We can pray for God's power to heal a diseased body.  We can pray for God's power to protect a person from harm.  We can pray for God to supply a person's financial needs.  But whether or not God's power intervenes in those circumstances, you can know God's power in your inner being.

And, if you think about it, you need to know God's power in your inner being more urgently than in your outward circumstances.  Your inner being is the home of hope or fear, willpower or despair, laughter or depression, perspective or misconception, faith or bitterness.

Next week we'll look at Paul's second request:  He asked God to supply love as well as power.  For today, though, review your own prayers on behalf of Hillcrest.  Are you praying for a display of supernatural strength?


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