THE CHURCH—GOD’S NEW SOCIETY
How Should We Pray for One Another?
Jerry A Collins
v What should we pray for on behalf of each other?
v Is praying only needed when we have problems?
v What is the character of the greatness of our salvation?
When we pray we often focus on our problems and generally our requests center around those difficulties. As if prayer is usually a tool we wield whenever we are in trouble or need God to do something. Of course, we should pray for our problems but in fact that does not seem to be the reason we should be praying. It appears that praying for people is not focused on their problems but on their relationship and the quality of that relationship as well as insight into the nature of that relationship. The point of this kind of praying is that people will gain spiritual perspective, full of wisdom and understanding, so they can respond to all of life in a way that reflects their position in Christ. So Christians praying for Christians must include this kind of focus in our prayers for each other. That particular focus is spelled out for us and will supply the direction our prayers should take on behalf of one another.
OUR PRAYERS SHOULD FOCUS ON DEEPER INSIGHT OF WHAT IS OURS IN CHRIST 15-18a
A. Our praying should be full of thanksgiving for one another 15-16.Thanksgiving is always a huge deal in our prayers. Notice he is doing that here.
First, because we have security in Christ. The whole section begins with a strong, For this reason… What reason? Looking back to our being chosen, predestined, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, salvation, sealing, and inheritance. This is the reason for the thanksgiving to God. These incredible truths are a basis of our praying. You are secure in your salvation. God has done everything necessary.
Second, because of the evidence of our faith 15. The evidence of that is our love for all believers. There are two things which identify a true believer. 1. His faith in Christ—evidenced by what he says and 2. His love for all the saints—evidenced by what he does for other believers, including those outside of his specific sphere of fellowship, group, or organization. John also says that this is the primary evidence for faith (Jn 13:34-35; 1 Jn 4:16-18, 20; 5:1). Here a report has been broadcasted about their faith. He seems to be thankful for what appears to be progress and manifestation of their faith in tangible ways. So much so, reports about their devotion was spreading all around and their founder and mentor, Paul even heard about it and is motivated to keep a constant vigil or thankful prayer for this in their lives. This love had to be expressed and most likely in tangible, concrete examples expressed in ways that others greater good was served without reciprocity as a motivation. Apparently, they were not neglecting one another—gossiping, hateful, spiteful, jealous, selfish, or uncaring.
Third, we express thanksgiving for each other as we pray for each other 16. What we know about the work of God evidenced and displayed in each other should become a topic of prayer for you. I thank the Lord for the group of people that repaired a friend’s house all week. Praise the Lord for the believer who supplied to financial gift to meet the need. Make this a habit in your praying. Being personally interested in remembering the tangible displays of God’s service at work through one another.
B. Our praying should be focused on deeper insight of what is ours in Christ 17-18a
First, that includes praying for increasing wisdom. This prayer is directed toward the proper person to supply the request—the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. 1. He is the same God that Jesus Christ prayed to. So we are approaching the right person. Check out Jesus praying in the gospels. 2. He is worthy of glory because of the incredible work of redeeming us that He executed. It is this God who will give what we ask for. This wisdom is something grounded in our faith in knowing Christ. It is gaining the mind of God applied to our lives.
Second, it includes revelation. Here it is comprehending the truth unveiled for us from God. Today that is the Word of God. That is necessary for spiritual understanding.
Third, it includes the knowledge of God. So the point of all of this insight is to increase our spiritual understanding of the mind of God. Notice that the emphasis of the apostles is very different from everything being taught in any world religion of his day or ours. The emphasis is not on holy days, liturgies, ceremonies or rituals. But on knowing and understanding the mind and heart of God in such intimate ways as being enlightened about God about what He has provided for us 18a. We will review some of those next. This was also the focus of Moses, David, and the Prophets. It also separated the men and women of God in the OT from the religions around them. The law separated the average Jew from paganism. But godly people were always distinguished by the fact that they sought the heart and mind and purpose of God. So Paul prays this for us and we for each other.
WE PRAY THAT OTHERSUNDERSTAND THE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER
The end of knowing God intimately is for several reasons.
1. We have the hope of His calling. We have an expectation that God will make true what he has promised. It is God’s call to us to be saved and become part of His family. Because of this call of salvation we have hope.
2. We have the wealth of his glorious inheritance. Actually this goes both ways. Because of His choosing of us, redeeming, adopting and sealing us, we are His possession. He will fully going his inheritance when the saints are removed from this earth and come in to His presence. But we also have an inheritance supplied for us in eternity. This shows we are valuable to God because He purchased us in order to inherit us. So we have hope produced from looking back to the past and will fully realize his inheritance in the future coming of Christ for His people.
3. We know he greatness of His
power 19-23. This is something for us to comprehend right now in the present. This may be why he takes more time to explain than the others. It is the surpassing greatness of it we must know. It is the ability of God Himself that is the focus. But it is displayed toward us who believe—available to us. It is according to the power of the power of His power! This is incredible power and each description enforces the idea of God’s abundant power available to all believers. It is the kind needed to survive the satanic hostile powers and worldly system that surrounds us. But how was this manifested?
A. In raising Christ from the dead 20a. Christ was raised out of all those who had died and remain buried in the earth. On the other hand God did more than raise Christ from the dead.
B. In seating Christ in the Heavenliest 20b-21. This makes Him about all in age ever (Psa 110:1). An exalted position with absolute authority. The powers over which He rules are vast 21—angelic & human! It is vast, comprehensive, complete, total and He has dominion!
C. He subjected all under his feet 22a—quote from Ps 8:6/Heb 2:6-9. He will overthrow all His enemies. Everything means every single thing is subjected. Christ had the right to exercise his control over everything in god’s creation. Under His feet is idea of placing his foot on enemies neck thrust to the ground. He exercises control without it being obvious to humankind. God does have a plan and it will culminate at Christ’s return where exercise of His control will be fully evident.
D. He gave Him to the church as Head 22b-23. In addition Jesus has the realm of authority in the outworking of God’s mystery. As head He has a body. The body is directed by the head. Christ is the agent by which we are filled, nourished, made alive as He is by the Father.