Title:  Praying when all is well

Summary:  We need to pray not only when we feel a need for something, but
also when all is well.  If it is tough to be specific, then we need to fuel the fires of
our prayer with scripture.  This means we need to have a clear strategy in our
prayer life, remembering to pray for the really important things and not to get
bogged down in minor details.  This should lead us to pray especially for wisdom
and understanding in all areas of life.

Purpose:  To motivate the hearers to develop a strategy of praying that is
immersed in scripture and sensitive to the important things in life

Text:  Ephesians 1:13-23

Scripture Reading:  Phillipians 4:5-7

1.  In thanksgiving, let request be made known to God - Eph 1 good example
2.  Easy to pray when someone is sick or hurt, but what about when well?
	a.  Say things like:  “Bless” them  - What does that mean exactly?
	b.  Sometimes hard pressed what to pray for when all is well
3.  In the text, will see Paul praying when all is well (Eph 1:13-23)
4.  How do we pray when all is well?

I.  Use the right fuel
	A.  Paul shares a beautiful prayer
		1.  Not a lot of fluff
		2.  It is a solid, fervent prayer
		3.  How can we have fervent prayers?
	B.  Fervent in Greek is “zeo”
		1.  Means zealous, fervent, lit: to burn, boil or seethe
		2.  Two types of prayer
			a.  Match stick prayers - Short prayers that burn out quickly
			b.  Bonfire prayers - Solid, frevent flames
		3.  If want to have bonfire prayers
			a.  Takes more than a match
			b.  Can’t fan just a match into a great flame
			c.  Need plenty of fuel
			d.  Fuel has to have substance (wood, not straw)
		4.  Where did Paul’s solid fuel come from?
			a.  (1:13) Message of truth v. 15 - “For this reason”
			b.  (3:3,8,11) God’s eternal purpose v.14 - “For this reason”
			c.  It was God’s word!
	C.  ILL:  Grandmother told me about one of my uncles
		1.  Young man, new Christian, prayed for 20 minutes at meal
		2.  Doesn’t do that any more.  Why?  Closer to God now.
		3.  “Praying endlessly at meals often indicator of a poor prayer life”
			a.  What?
			b.  Not used to coming to God in prayer, so make up for it
		4.  Even Jesus prayed short prayers at meals
	D.  So long prayer not necessarily indication of good prayer life
		1.  Have a strategy (next point)
		2.  Strategy must involve immersion in the word

II.  Have a solid strategy
	A.  Strategy is important in all areas of life
		1.  In war, saving for retirement, putting out fire, etc.  battle or war
		2.  Paul uses military imagery for our struggle  6:10-18
			a.  Need to focus battle in right place
			b.  Not against flesh and blood
			c.  Don’t want to focus battle in wrong place
		3.  (6:18) Saves most important thing for last - prayer
		4.  Prayer important, need to focus it in right place - strategy
	B.  Notice the strategy of Paul’s prayer
		1.  Look at Paul’s prayer - Wisdom and Revelation
			a.  I used to think this prayer was too general
			b.  I wanted to be more specific
			c.  How little I understood - I needed wisdom and revelation
		2.  Paul was very specific in his prayer
			a.  Sinus infections, allergies, hearing problems
				- Can get bogged down in minutae
			b.  These not bad, BUT need a strategy
			c.  These are reactionary prayers
			d.  Have to go to heart of the problem
		3.  What we need is NOT healing from sinus infections, etc.
		4.  If that all we think about, we need wisdom & revelation
	C.  ILL:  Old lady with new electricity
		1.  Meter never ticked
		2.  Did you know you have elect?  
		3.  Yes, so nice, hard to see at night, so I used it to light my 
		      kerosene lamps
		4.  Had so much power available, but did not understand
	D.  Paul’s strategy in prayer -- ask for wisdom and understanding
		1.  v.18 - To know the hope of his calling
			a.  Hope pulls us forward
			b.  Enables us to endure
			c.  Heb 12:2 - For the joy set “before him” endured
			d.  Jesus is coming back!!
		2.  v.19 - Greatness of his power toward us who believe
			a.  Power is perfected in weakness
			b.  Life comes in death
			c.  Weakness of God stronger than strength of men
			d.  The more we humble, more God lifts us up
		3.  Hope and power enable us to overcome all
			a.  Whether it is sinus infection, hearing problems, etc.
			b.  Whether persecutions, hunger, hardship
		4.  Wisdom and understanding in this will lead to victory

III.  Put the strategy to use (3:14-20)
	A.  Paul’s prayer for:
		1.  Power through his Spirit in the inner man
		2.  Christ dwell in hearts through faith
		3.  Rooted and grounded in love
		4.  May be able to comprehend
	B.  Comprehend - “katalambano” - To seize, take, attain, overtake
		1.  To overtake with the mind - means to understand
		2.  Paul not specific on what height, breadth, etc. is
		3.  He is clear that God will cause us to be “able” to “overtake” it
		4.  He not lower the task, but raise us up for the task
			- Make us equal to the taks
	C.  (v.20) - God do more than we “ASK” or think
	D.  We need to ask and it will be given unto us

1.  We need to ask strategically
2.  To ask strategically, we need to use solid fuel - word of God
3.  Here’s what to do
	a.  Make a plan to read daily (not happen without a plan_
	b.  Write
	c.  Pray
	d.  Share with someone else (choose one from life group)
4.  Do you need to ask God this morning?

Questions for Small Group Discussion