Our Church Plant just started our third missional community. We had a few neighbors join us as well as a woman who just joined our church plant from our parent church. Our MC evening included a meal, some wine, and the Story of God. I’ve partied numerous times with these neighbors. Since they know I’m a pastor, I’ve tried to be very conscious of not doing anything that would make them feel uncomfortable with me. So out of all the times we’ve hung out, we’ve only prayed once before a meal.
Yet here we were, the second night of our meeting, and I offered to pray before the meal. I tried to use the least “Churchy” tone and language possible. I just spoke as if God was in the room, nodding His head, listening to me. We ate, read and talked about The Story. As we ended the evening, I remembered that God was Great so I didn’t have to be in control. I remembered that he already brought these people to hear his Story. He engaged them greatly in our dialogue, and it was time to ask God to work in their lives. So as we were ending, I asked, “Before we go, is there anything you are going through that we can pray for?” Everyone asked for something to be prayed for.
The next day one of our neighbors came over. Her prayers, which dealt with conflict with a few different people, were all answered the very next day. We rejoiced over God’s goodness with our friend and neighbor. My wife and I rejoiced even more that evening as we saw her praise God on Facebook and speaking of how the amazing ways He was working in her life. Her experience and her witness would never have been possible without prayer.
Picture found here
I love the book of Ephesians. One thing I like about it is that Paul prays some amazing prayers for the people he was fathering in the faith. One such prayer happens at the end of chapter 3:
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.
In this majestic prayer, Paul prays that the Holy Spirit my dwell in us and cause us to treasure Christ in our hearts, that we might have faith and a relationship with the Son of God (16-17) And, being rooted in that love, that our eyes might be opened even more to the fact that God’s love is greater than just what we experience, but that it fills all things, not even the dimensions of creation (width, length, hight, and depth) can hold His love. Paul wants us to be astounded by and filled with awe and warmth by the awesome power and love of God.
Then he ends with this rousing doxology,
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.
Paul wants our wonders to overflow into praise of the great and awesome God who has loved us so deeply.
recently, verse 2o has been speaking into my heart, That God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” As I try to live for him and as we continue to move forward in church planting, I remember that God is able to do far more than we can possibly dream. His love is greater than the dimensions of this world. He has a greater passion and desire to reach the lost than any of us do. He has greater love for anyone I’m trying to reach than we do as well.
As we’re trying to forge relationships, show love, and share the Gospel, I’ve been keeping this in mind. While I pray for specific things, I remember that his love, his plans, his desire to save are greater than mine. So every conversation and at every transition in my day, I pray,
“You can do so much more than I can possibly ask or imagine. So surprise me, Lord! Astound me with your love. Amaze me with your power at work in me. Show up in a way that I do not expect and work awesome things to your glory and to the salvation of many.”
This week our glorious and great God has done some amazing things. He’s done way more than I’ve been praying for. He’s done way more than I had expected. Trust him in all that you do, and look for his power at work.