Prayer for Spiritual Growth (34)


~ Guest Post Today by Sam Garner ~

Prayer Text Today is Ephesians 3:14-21

God is up to something.

It’s easy to forget. But Paul doesn’t apologize for saying it-because he believes it.

It’s not just that God is up to something, but he is up to something through the church. Through you and me.

It might not always feel like God is up to something. Our lives are full of the mundane-going to work, attending school, preparing dinner, worshipping occasionally with our local congregations. Most of the grandiose language Paul employs to describe the church doesn’t match how we typically view our daily experiences. But he still believes God is up to something in us.

In fact his prayer in Ephesians 3 states strongly that the entire presence of God is at work in his people.

“The Father, from who every 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.”

Notice that the entire Godhead is working through us-the Father, Son, and Spirit. God is not just up to something in us, but he is pouring out all of his presence through us.

And when we come to that realization that our lives are full of the presence of God. When we begin to realize that the entire Godhead is working through our seemingly ordinary reality, then we can begin to recognize the profound transformation that occurs within us. God is not finished with us no matter how unimportant we view our place in his ministry.

“Prayer is not “getting in touch with your true self,’ as is so often said. It is the practice of shifting preoccupation away from yourself toward attentiveness and responsiveness to God.” (Eugene Peterson)

Each week I have the honor to send our congregation with a benediction. While I might use a variety of words depending on the week, most weeks I keep coming back to the conclusion of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.

It is a perfect reminder to the called people of God that though we are about to enter the mundane reality of our life, we go in the power of the creator who is up to something in us. We and our actions are not insignificant because we serve the one who blesses his people with significance.

“Now to him who is able to immeasurable 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.”

That’s a prayer that will invite God to continue to be up to something in us and that we might respond as the church.

Sam & Rachel Garner
Sam & Rachel Garner

Dr. Sam Garner is the preaching minister for the Lee Acres Church of Christ in Tupelo, Mississippi. I mostly remember Sam as a teenager at church camp with a family very involved in church. Somehow across the years he earned his doctorate, got married, served the Lord in Connecticut, became an avid runner and hiker, and I’m sure a bunch of stuff I don’t know before returning to his home state a few years ago. I appreciate so much what he has written here today and hope it has blessed you as it has me. You can connect with Sam on Twitter HERE and on Facebook HERE.