MVLC Member Peggy Thurston’s devotion for Monday, May 25.
The passages I am going to be commenting are from the daily devotions I do each day with a group of ladies online. We all read the same passage, and send one another our thoughts. These are mostly Lutheran women I have come to know from different parts of our country. Last Wednesday our readings were Ephesians 1:15-23, and Psalm 47.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. —EPHESIANS 1:15-23 (NIV)
The night before this reading, I did not sleep well. I know many of you are having that problem as well. When I wake up like that, I often try to pray myself back to sleep. Or I name God’s attributes alphabetically until I doze back off. Sometimes I get up and read the Psalms. But that night my thoughts kept turning to my older sister, Julie, who’s mother-in-law died while convalescing in the Kirkland Life Center Home, after falling and breaking a hip. She was only 81. She was one of the first, along with so many in the home to perish because of this terrible pandemic. I prayed for the family, especially my brother-in-law, Mark, the oldest of the 6 children.
I would love to say how I persevered in prayer for this family, but somehow, like often, my prayer came back to myself. “How can God make my life easier; how can I take care of my family and friends during these uncertain times? How can I be a better witness in loving them to Christ?” I was stunned eventually by how the words “I,” “me,” and “my” came into my head even though I thought I was praying blessings on others.
So, lo and behold, we have this text during Easter that Paul gives us to pray for others. This prayer shows Paul’s deep love and concern for the spiritual growth and well-being of the Ephesian church. It is also a prayer that we can learn much from, particularly for our own prayer lives. He raises the bar for what prayer can be. He shows us that we can go deeper. There are places we can go in prayer that we’ve maybe never imagined. These places draw us closer to knowing God, his goodness, his power and His promises for us.
In these few verses, Paul shows us that our prayers can be more than just a list of needs. While we can never plumb the depths of God’s love and grace for us, we need to pray that God would help us understand more and more about who he is and what he has done.
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
for God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nation’s assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.
Clap your hands and shout! This made me think of the song “Twist and Shout” from the early 1960’s. Remember: You know you make me wanna (Shout!)? Well, that is all I will say about that. But isn’t it a great thing to think about shouting for joy for the work that our Lord Jesus did for us on the Cross? God reigns! God sits on his holy throne.
We are living through this terrible pandemic, and we are afraid. But can we sing this psalm to the Lord, and remember that He is with us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). We can be that excited about our Lord! He is that awesome. Sing and praise him for he rules over all the earth. There is no where we can go or be that God is not there in power. Thanks be to God.
Hymn: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Songwriters: composer Charles Crozat Converse and lyricist and Joseph Scriven. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2kbogwgBM
Wonderful teacher God, we want to live according to Your Word. May our prayers be acceptable to you. Amen.
Love, praying for my sisters and brothers, Peggy.
Image: Photograph, 2020, by Peggy Thurston.