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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Our Greatest Example

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Eph 1:16
 
10 Minutes A Day?
The first thing to be said, though it may seem rather obvious, is that we need to pray.

I remember reading a survey many years ago in a British Christian magazine. One striking finding stood out so clearly that I remember it still - the average church minister spent less than 10 minutes a day in prayer.

It seems to me to be blindingly obvious that a community pastored by people who can't or won't pray is destined for failure. Where is the commitment to the flock? How can you lead a people in God's plan if you haven't spent time with Him, learning what that plan is? How can you preach God's word to His children if you haven't spent time seeking His heart? How can you teach others to pray if it isn't part of your own experience? If there is no prayer there can be no growth, either in numbers or maturity.

Paul The Pray-er
The apostle Paul knew how to pray. We see it in His letters. The letter to the Ephesians is full of prayer. Paul says he prays for them constantly (1:16). Presumably the other churches to whom he wrote were on his heart and in his prayers too.

Our Greatest Example
But our greatest example is the Lord Jesus.

We know He "often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer" (Lk 5:16), that He was known to get up to pray before dawn (Mk 1:35) or even spend the whole night in prayer (Lk 6:12).

The disciples could see the impact of prayer on Jesus' life and ministry and so asked the Lord to teach them how to pray (Lk 11:1). In response He gave them what has become known as the Lord's Prayer.

Jesus showed his followers how to pray by demonstrating prayer in his own life first and then by teaching them. So here at Prayer College we will take the same approach. We will return to the Lord's Prayer later, but we will begin by looking at the example of Jesus. In the meantime, my prayer for you is Ephesians 3:16-19.

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. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Prayer College Assignment
Your homework is to commit to praying this prayer every day this week for someone you know who seems to particularly need to experience the love of God at the moment.

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