June 28 I Thursday
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.”
There were two young brothers who spent a night at their grandmother’s house the week before Christmas. Before they went to bed, they knelt down to pray, and the youngest boy yelled at the top of his lungs, “God, I pray for a new bicycle and some video games and an iPad.” His older brother leaned over and nudged Him. “Why are you shouting?” he asked, “God isn’t deaf.” “I know,” the younger boy answered, “but Grandma is.”
John Stott, the famous Anglican priest, once said, “If you want to know where a Christian really is, listen to them praying.” How often do our prayers turn into shopping lists for our various needs, wants, aspirations and conveniences? Prayer is a tremendously vital part of the Christian life, but we miss out on all that prayer can be if we simply ask God to bless our families, help the missionaries and provide us with the things we want or need.
We already have everything we need in Jesus. When we believe in Him, we receive the fullness of Christ living in us through the Spirit, which means there are prayers some of us might pray regularly that are unnecessary. We do not need to ask God to “be with us this day,” because He is already with us through Christ. We do not need to ask God to pour out His Holy Spirit on us, because we already received the Spirit when we believed. We do not need to invite God into our worship services; He is already there!
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 was for people who already have everything. He prayed not that they would receive something but that they would know what they have already received in Christ. He says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19). A preacher cannot give us these things, nor a church, a program, a method or a technique. Paul prayed the agenda of Jesus Christ into their lives—that is, for things we cannot experience apart from the intervention of God.
The more we know Christ, the more we will know the inheritance we have in Christ. Our priorities will shift from what we want to what we already have. Instead of presenting a celestial shopping list, our prayers will turn into thanksgiving for what Christ is doing and will do as we live in dependence on Him to make His will a reality in our lives.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may my prayers today not be filled with requests but with thanksgiving for who You are, what You have given me and how You are working right now in my life. Thank You, Lord.