This past Sunday we took in a Sunday morning worship time at a nearby mega-church (www.fmcfw.org). It is literally just minutes from our house, and it's a nice place to visit sometimes, but it is pretty "urban" for us. It's also very huge. They have three services and run near 2,000 people a Sunday. The music borders on hip-hop, and while it's done extremely well, it just doesn't connect with us. We do really like the main pastor's teaching though (Dave D.). He is very encouraging, very passionate, and a superb communicator.
On this particular day Pastor Dave was preaching on Ephesians 3:14-21. It is a beautiful piece of Scripture, and a great prayer in itself:
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every 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 Lord’s holy people, 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.
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.
It was a very simple, yet wonderfully profound message. The points were:
1. We will realize our potential when we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit's POWER.
- This is a function of presentation.
- This is a function of reflection.
- This is a function of submission.
The "challenge/application" was to try to start each day with the following 3-part prayer:
PRESENTATION: "Lord, I can't be what you want me to be and I can't do what you call me to do without Your Spirit freshly empowering me. So I humbly yet confidently come to you yet again asking for this grace for another day."
REFLECTION: "Lord, I want to rest again in the fact that your love is so high and wide and long and deep. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
SUBMISSION: "Lord, I bow before You, asking that your ways become my ways... that your will becomes my will. As I empty myself of myself, fill me with Yourself."
So... I've been trying to do that. I'm not sure the specific words are as important as the focus it establishes. It's so easy to just wander into a day, and I believe it helps me a great deal to start by presenting myself to God, reflecting on who he is and who I am to him, and submitting to Him and His ways. In fact, I think I will put this prayer in my phone so I will have it wherever I happen to be.