The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday January 10, 2024, was written by Norman A. Thomas of Virginia.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16 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, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 NRSV
As I write, my beloved wife is undergoing her seventh surgery for breast cancer in just over three years. She has also endured 13 months of chemotherapy. After checking in at the hospital this morning, we prayed together. Once she was taken back for anesthesia and surgery, I prayed earnestly for her and for all the doctors, nurses, and technicians involved in her surgery. I then read my daily devotional. When I completed that reading, it occurred to me that in my prayer life I have asked for many things. Although I do thank God for the gift of grace through Jesus Christ and for the many blessings of my life, I feel as though most of my prayers ask for a particular outcome for my loved ones, for those in need or suffering, or for myself.
I wondered if God ever tires of my many requests. So I turned to the Bible. In numerous passages I received assurance that God desires my prayerful requests. Those prayers tell God of my true and abiding faith in God's grace. Paul said it well in his letter to the Philippians, "Do no worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). That is exactly what I am doing today. God is love, and I am most thankful for that and for God's listening ear.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Norman's heartfelt reflection offers us encouragement and comfort, as we continue to turn to God in prayer. Prayer is our mechanism for communicating with God, sometimes, our circumstances have us in constant request mode. Yet, as Norman aptly points out, God wants us to make our requests known, demonstrating our trust and reliance upon God. When we lay our burdens, frustrations, hardships, and heartaches before God, it is a gesture of surrender conveying our need for God to work on our behalf. I leave you with the words of Philippians 4:6 "Do no worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Dear Lord, you know what we need even before we ask. May our prayerful requests reveal our sincere and abiding faith in you. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.