A Thanksgiving Prayer
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Nov. 18th, 2018
- On Thanksgiving Day, most of us will gather around a table and “give thanks.” How do you pray for those you are thankful for? This morning we with focus on “giving thanks” through a “thanksgiving prayer” by Paul that will guide us in praying for those we are thankful for.
- In his letter to the people living in Ephesus, a place and people he loved, he spent three years there and was met with opposition and great success. The church grew and the message of Jesus spread.
- The opening lines of this letter start with a typical greeting from Paul, and then Paul launches into a deep theological section giving praise to God for all that He has done for us and all that we have in Him.
- The next section, from which our text for today comes, starts with the words “for this reason,” which connects this prayer with the statement in the opening paragraph. It is based upon what God had done for us and what we have in him. He starts his prayer of gratitude for those he is with. The language is incredibly dense and packed with meaning. Each word and phrase is rich, deep and divine.
Eph 1:15-16 ESV
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
- This prayer is given based upon and founded in God, who He is and what He has done (our Father who art in heaven). It is also given because of who they are and what they have done (“your faith in Christ” and “your love toward all the saints” — not just the saints they like or those who are like them – all the saints, both near and far)– he prays for them.
- So far there is ton of material for your thanksgiving prayer – thank God for who He is, what he had done for us and thank God that people have put their faith in Him and love each other.
- Now I want you to go beyond this point and pray along with the words of scripture of believers – those who are around your table and those who are in this church and in your life. This is how we can pray for one another.
Eph 1:17 ESV
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
That you would have knowledge of Him
- This knowledge of God goes beyond knowing about Him. This is a prayer for believers that already know enough about God and Christ to put their faith in Him. This is a knowing of God that is experiential knowledge – knowing more about Him but doing so from your daily walk with Him and spending time with Him. Knowing Him in the valley and on the mountain tops, knowing Him in the good times and through suffering. This the knowledge of those who are disciples – those who spend time with Him and live with Him and see Him working in and through you.
- How do you get to know God in this context? Through the Spirit who gives wisdom and revelation. We need the spirit of God to show us spiritual things.
1 Cor 2:14-16 ESV
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
- It is God’s spirit that enables us and empowers us to know God and have the mind of Christ. If we don’t have His sprit working in us, then we will not understand God. How do you get this, you ask? – God grant me your spirit of wisdom and revelation. Notice this is a spirit that is wisdom and gives wisdom – wisdom to understand God’s word and his working. It is the spirit that reveals things to us and uncovers them so that we can see God working and moving.
- All of us can and should be growing in our knowledge of God. It is a very good prayer for you to pray for yourself and for fellow believers because we will become more like Christ in doing so. From this comes the fruit of the spirit and abundance of good works in the world. Specifically, we are to ask that we know these three things about God.
Knowledge of His hope
Eph 1:18a ESV
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,
- We are people who are called to hope, and we are the ones that should also hold on to hope because we have a God who is the God of hope. We have a God who can do more that we ask or imagine. With God there is always hope, and this is what we are called to. We grow in hope when we grow in our knowledge of God, who He is, what He does and what He says. When He says something we can hold onto it in full confidence.
Knowledge of His riches
Eph 1:18b ESV
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
- Look closely at the wording of this. This in not about your inheritance or your riches. This is about the riches of God’s glorious inheritance . . . in the saints. This means that the riches of God are the saints . . . which is us! So that means a couple of things for us.
- First, may God grant you the knowledge of how beautiful and glorious the church is to God.We are His glorious inheritance. I want to see the church as God sees the church: as a glorious inheritance. Prayer: God help me to know your glorious inheritance – help me to truly see what it is and how wonderful your saints are. This should cause us to cherish, honor, love, protect and never hurt or destroy each other.
- Second, know that you are part of this! You are God’s glorious inheritance (and I know as a Midwesterner we are like – no, not me). Know the truth of the Bible – you are the glorious inheritance of God. This means you are valuable to God and should give you a boost. This should give you a new perspective about yourself and cause you to see yourself as valuable to God.
Knowledge of His power
Eph 1:19 ESV
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
- God will show the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe on the great day of resurrection. Can you imagine what that will be like and how much power it would take to do this? That will be the greatest demonstration of His power, not only in the resurrecting itself, but what that means for all time and eternity! This is the God you serve, this is our Father. This is the one who is for you and not against you! May we know this power both in our lives today and in our living in eternity. Trust in it, hope in it and know Him!
- Here is our thanksgiving prayer for those we are thankful for: Thank God for who He is and what He does. Pray that we would know God more deeply, fully and clearly. Pray that we would grow in the knowledge of His hope, the knowledge of His riches, and the knowledge of His power!