Turned On By Prayer
A daily devotion for March 3rd
15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I 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. 18I pray also 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 the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
...that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened... (Ephesians 1:18a).
The eyes of the heart is a strange expression, isn't it? Eyes are the instrument by which we perceive things. The mind also has eyes. If you listen to truth in any area, the eyes of your mind are grasping ideas. But the apostle tells us here that not only does the mind have eyes, but the heart as well. The heart needs to see things, needs to grasp truth and understand it. And the heart is always used in Scripture as the seat of our emotions.
Remember the episode in Luke 24—that walk to Emmaus when the risen Lord appears to the two disciples? The Lord joins them, but they don't know who He is. He walks along with them and unfolds to them all the Scriptures concerning the promised Messiah. Afterward, they said to one another,
Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (v. 32).
burning of the heart represents the heart's eyes being opened. It is the inflaming of the heart, so that it comes alive and is deeply moved. It is this burning of the heart that the apostle desires for these Christians. When the heart begins to burn with truth, when it takes root in you and you simply must respond to it, that is when you know with certainty that God is real, that the hope of your calling is genuine, that the power of His presence is available, and that the riches of His ministry through you is manifest to others as well.
I remember when a young man became a Christian, came into the church, and married a girl who had grown up in the church. At first his Christian life was glorious to behold. He eagerly read the Scriptures. But after a while it all began to ebb away. He lost his interest in the Scriptures, and quit coming to church. He was no longer interested in fellowship with other believers.
Naturally his wife became concerned. So she and a friend decided that they would pray together for her husband every day. She decided in her heart that she would not nag him, because she didn't want him to come unless his heart genuinely directed him to. She resolved simply to pray daily. For a month or more nothing happened. But she kept on praying.
Gradually her husband's attitude began to change a bit. One day she found him reading the Bible. She didn't say anything to him, but it was a note of encouragement. Then, one Sunday, he announced that he was going to church with her. Again she rejoiced inwardly. After a while, he said to her,
You know, dear, I've really been way out of it! Somehow or other I lost all my interest in the Lord. But God has moved in and met me and brought me back. What a wonderful testimony to the power of prayer to open eyes!
It isn't enough simply to teach truth. You never affect the whole person until the eyes of the heart are enlightened. When truth is moved from the head down to the heart, it has gripped the emotions. Then the will is properly motivated. Then the person begins to grow tremendously.
Father, open the eyes of my heart. I see that for that to happen there must be the bending of the knee, the imploring of the Spirit in prayer, so that truth becomes vital and compelling.
Life Application: Faithful prayer shortens one of the longest distances known by humanity which is the distance between our head and our heart. Have we felt the Power of His Presence?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.