PRAY FOR THE CHURCH, CHURCH!
A few weeks ago as I sat down in the early morning with my cup of coffee, my Bible(s), my devotional books, and my notebook, the Lord spoke very loudly to me in the quietness. The scripture for that particular morning was Ephesians 3:14-21. I read it over and over, in two versions: New International and New Living.
What a powerful, powerful prayer Paul wrote in this letter to the church at Ephesus!
First, He said, “This is your New Year’s Resolution.”
Then, “This is what the Church should pray.”
This may seem very redundant, but see for yourself what I mean:
New International Version:
14 “For this reason, I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom His whole 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 saints, 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.”
And now in the New Living Translation:
14 “When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources, He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil ofGod’s marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.20 Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.”
Again, I read the prayer, one version and then the other. Suddenly, a simple but profound thought occurred to me:
What if the Church, the Body of Believers in Christ, what if we all, both individually and collectively, prayed this prayer each and every day?
There is a modern hymn. It begins with these words:
I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world!
Yes, we’re the Church together!“We Are the Church,” by Richard Avery and Donald Marsh.
So, my New Year’s Resolution is to pray this prayer for God’s Church every day.
This year, my challenge to you is this:
as you love in the Lord,
live in the Lord,
and learn in the Lord,
PRAY for God’s Church!Glenae Atchison
Have a blessed 2022!
Glenae Atchison is a native of Indiana, and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, and making Swedish weave blankets.