First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Displaying Grace.

April 19, 2016

    I dislike being rushed. It's not that I can't function in crisis, but less tension is always better for me. How about you? Those days when you go golfing and you are part of a four person team are always a fun time. And then along behind us comes a single golfer or a team of two.... Clearly, we can't play fast enough to stay ahead of the smaller team and so one has to consider allowing the faster team to play through. It is good golf etiquette to do so and a display of grace.

    There is an etiquette in faith communities too. When one senses another person is struggling with life, it is a good thing to slow down and offer prayer for them. If possible, holding their hands while you pray allows for physical and spiritual connection. Praying through a crisis with another person seems to diffuse the tension and reduce that unbearable sense of loneliness and it is a display of grace. The apostle Paul understood this principle and applied it liberally to the church (believers) in Ephesus.

 

        A Prayer for the Ephesians 

        "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its

        name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your

        inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and

        established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high

        and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to

        the measure of all the fullness of God. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ

        Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV)

 

Revisit the verses here and see the connective means Paul used. He:

* knelt before God.  

* recognized God as the source of help and hope.

* prayed for their strength.  

* prayed God would dwell in their hearts.  

* prayed for them to experience God's fullness.   

* prayed they would know God's love.  

* prayed they would be filled with God.  

* closed with an incredible benediction of blessing for them.

 

This passage from Ephesians 3 is a good model of prayer for us. It builds hope and expectation for those who are enduring difficulties. It shines the focus of our hearts on the goodness and power of the Lord Almighty.  Exercise this prayer model with a family member or friend and see if they aren't encouraged to lift their heads and journey forward with growing confidence. It's good Christian etiquette and also a great display of grace.

 

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