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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Ephesians 3:14–21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (NRSV)

Reflection
Although we often think of Paul’s letters primarily through the lens of instruction, we should never forget that Paul and his followers also used these letters to personally encourage and build up these fledging communities that they founded. In today’s passage, we see a wonderful example of this encouragement: Paul, or one of his followers, offers a moving and heartfelt prayer for this community, and the individuals within it, and asks that God bless them richly with “the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge.” It is easy to hear the heart behind these words, and even though we are not the originally intended audience, we can feel ourselves being blessed by them as well.

Words of gratitude and praying for someone else has a particular power in that way, and I believe that we often do not use those words nearly enough. If you are anything like me, most of what you write on a given day—whether via email, texts, or otherwise—is short, perfunctory, and task-oriented. There is nothing wrong with this type of correspondence, of course, but I encourage you to set aside a moment today to reach out to someone else in your life and let them know you are thinking of them and praying for their well-being, using some of the heartfelt language from this passage if you feel comfortable. Our words have an immense power to encourage and build up, both for others and ourselves, so may we use their strength today.

Prayer
Holy God, may Christ dwell deeply within my heart through my faith and may I be forever rooted and grounded in your love—allowing that love to permeate my life and all those who cross my path today. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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