Encouragement to and for The Body of Christ

Encouragement to and for the Body of Christ.  SmellingCoffee.com

I didn’t even mean to be there this morning, but that’s often how the Lord works, isn’t it?  Instead of moving forward in Scripture, the Holy Spirit kept pulling me backward page by page until I reached the beginning of Ephesians, even to the notes preceding chapter one, verse one, where this phrase caught my attention: “In this epistle the word ‘church’ means the ‘church universal.’ Paul speaks of the church as being established by God in His eternal purpose through redemption in Christ.”

I then began to read Ephesians chapter one from a different viewpoint – not as I usually do, as in “What are you saying to me, Lord?”  This time I began to read it asking, “What are you saying to today’s body of Christ, Lord?”

And just wow!  What encouragement for the church!!!!!

Personal discussions, blog articles, Facebook posts, and sermons have been filled with speculations about what’s going to happen in the churches… the latest one concerning tax exemption status if pastors speak out on Biblical stances of marriage… and I must admit, they’ve been getting me a little discouraged about the status of “our churches.” (Notice “OUR CHURCHES?”)  But Ephesians chapter one just gave me a swift kick in the pants bolstered my confidence in the Head of the Church, who rules “above all authority and power and dominion and every name that is named above every title that can be conferred, not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and in the world which are to come.” (Eph. 1:21 Amp)  A men!?

After soaking in God’s plans (which have NEVER changed) for His Body of Believers, the Lord led me to go back through that passage and PRAY through it FOR the “church universal.”  Not just for my own personal church, though of course it was central in my mind, but for the church in general, across this nation and across this world.  Just like bodies of humans, by God’s divine plan, each church body looks vastly different, yet structurally similar enough that we are knowledgeable enough to support one another in prayer.

What would happen if each of us pledged to begin praying for the world-wide Body of Christ using the Truths of Ephesians 1?  This is what I think would happen.

** I believe that the Church universal would be strengthened and encouraged.  God sends forth His Word and heals. (Psalm 107:20)

** I believe that you and I would be strengthened and encouraged.  God’s Word invested in our minds and hearts and lives NEVER returns void.  It ALWAYS produces a harvest wherever it is planted. (Isaiah 55:11)

** I believe that God would be glorified beautifully through His Body in the days to come. “[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace, favor and mercy, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Eph. 1:6 (Amp)

Will you join me in praying Ephesians chapter one for the “Church Universal?”

If you’ve never prayed Scripture back to God before, here is what I hope is a simple explanation of how to do so in this passage:

Begin by asking the Lord to lead you. 😉  Then start reading the passage to the Lord in an attitude of prayer, speaking it to Him.  I often do this aloud (because I’m kind of verbal like that.) Every time you see the word “God,” replace it with the word “You.”  When Paul uses the word “yours,” turn that into “ours” – because you are taking ownership of this passage as your heart-cry.  Keep the “us” as it is, because you are praying for yourself as well as the World Wide Body of Christ.  {It may sound more complicated than it really is.  Just begin reading the scripture and praying the words back to God.  You’ll get the hang of it, I promise!} 😉

Is it crazy to say that I’m excited for the days to come?  Not for the trouble that might lie ahead but for the strength of the Lord that we will get to see arise from our weaknesses as they will surely be exposed?  As believers and as the Body of Christ, we will need Jesus now, more than ever (at least in my own lifetime) and we have His promise that we will “know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 1:19-20 (Amp)

Glory to God, A men!  and A blessed Lord’s Day to all of you.  Will you join me in praying Ephesians 1 for the World Wide Body of Christ?  

PS: Of course, since the whole book (not just chapter 1) was written to the church universal, it would be so awesome to pray through the whole six chapters of Ephesians FOR the church!  That’s the journey I’m going to begin.  Anyone want to join me on that?

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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. Thanks, what a awesome way to pray for our Churches.