Prayer

More Than I Can Imagine

  • 11 January 2018
  • Keith Reed

person looking at night skyThe prayer that Paul writes in the third chapter of his letter to the Ephesians is as inspirational as it is poetic: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." It's commonly cited in benedictions and prayers, and yet it never seems to tire.  

The ability to not only do more, but immeasurably more is astonishing. But to do immeasurably more than can be imagined? This is, well, hard to imagine. Because our imagination is—theoretically—limitless. 

This reminds me of an amusing exchange between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in A New Hope when the former tries to convince his reluctant partner to rescue Princess Leia who is scheduled to be terminated. Faced with the need to inspire immediate action, Luke appeals to Han's primary motivation:  

Luke: She's rich.
Han: Rich?
Luke: Rich, powerful. Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be...
Han: What?
Luke: Well, more wealth than you can imagine!
Han: I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit!

My imagination can feel boundless about some things—tangible things like wealth, possessions, and experiences. But how often do I imagine more of Christ's power at work within me? How often do you or I pray for his glory to be made evident through the way that our lives reflect his kingdom? How often do we dream about what immeasurably more might mean in our lives and ministry? How often do we marvel at the sheer vastness of the possibilities? 

Perhaps it begins with mustering up more imagination about the things that matter most. 

Here's to more hope, more imagination, and more of Christ's power at work within us.  

Keith Reed is the Associate Director of MinistryLift at MB Seminary

photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash 

How to Grow Wisdom

  • 23 November 2017
  • Keith Reed

Michelangelo's Creation of AdamThe alarm on my phone goes off every afternoon at 1:05, serving as my daily reminder to pray for wisdom. This idea came from Mark Wessner, MB Seminary President, who chose the time because of its closeness to James 1:5 which says, "If anyone lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all and without finding fault, and it will be given to you." 

If you want to become wiser, praying to receive wisdom is the logical first step. But there are additional ways we can develop wisdom and help others do the same. Here are some suggestions for growing greater wisdom in your life. 

Pray for Wisdom

Asking for wisdom is the very foundation of wisdom. Praying for wisdom is an honest confession that greater insight and perspective is needed before being able to act with proper understanding. This request requires humility and earnestness and shows reverence for God from whom wisdom flows.

The wisest people I know are the same people who continually ask God for wisdom. And yet, those who need wisdom the most are the ones who despise it (Proverbs 1:7). This contrast goes beyond irony―it is the distinguishing mark between the foolish and the wise. The wise look beyond themselves but the eyes of the foolish see only themselves.

Key verses: James 1:5; 1 Kings 3; Proverbs 1:7
Possible next step: remind yourself to pray for wisdom by setting an alarm for 1:05.  

Study the Bible

Wisdom flows from God's character and represents His knowledge and understanding. We encounter wisdom when we encounter God. Reading and meditating on God's Word allows us to soak in God's thoughts so His perspective becomes our own.

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Small Group

  • 30 September 2017
  • Randy Wollf

small group
Have you ever wondered why some small groups thrive while others spin their wheels? Have you ever asked yourself what it would take to take move your group into a healthier position?

Jim Egli and Dwight Marable have discovered that groups that see people accept Christ, increase in size, and multiply into additional groups have four things in common. Their book called Small Groups - Big Impact: Connecting People to God and One Another in Thriving Groups outlines these commonalities. Let's take a look at each factor:  

Prayer

The study found that 83% of groups that had a leader who modelled and facilitated prayer saw someone come to Christ in the past nine months (versus 19% of groups that did not have a praying leader). Praying leaders spend time with God. They actively pray for group members and group meetings. They pray for unsaved people in their lives and in the lives of others within the group. As the leader and others in the group engage in a lifestyle of prayer, people sense God’s presence in the group. Life change happens. People get saved. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of group?

Outreach

When group leaders and their groups have an outreach focus, they are much more likely to see people come to Christ. The study found that 90% of groups with this kind of focus saw someone come to Christ in the last six months (versus 11% of groups without this outreach emphasis). In the book, Egli and Marable talk about the five I’s of reaching out: 

    • Investment - Members spend time with friends in order to share Christ
    • Invitation – Leaders encourage members to invite others
    • Intention - Outreach is a stated purpose of the group
    • Intercession – Group members pray during their meetings for unsaved friend 
    • Imitation - Leaders model relational outreach

If we want to grow our small groups, outreach needs to be an important part of group life.

Care

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