Monday, January 4, 2016

Ephesians 6:18-24

How often do you think about oxygen? This morning when you woke up did it cross your mind? As you poured the bowl of cereal or dropped the bread in the toaster did you take a moment to mull over the beauty and blessedness of oxygen? Throughout the day, sighing, whispering, talking, although you used oxygen incessantly, did you ever actually slow down to imagine the little O2 molecules that tumbled into your lungs and sustained your life? Perhaps, you thought of oxygen very little today, but do you know who probably thought about oxygen a lot? The one in the oxygen mask who was gasping, begging doctors to help in whatever way possible, because the absence of oxygen in their lungs is so startling. There are those in crisis who think about oxygen…and although oxygen sustains us all, there are the rest of us that live life as though oxygen doesn’t even exist, giving less than a passing thought to it.
When we come to the end of Ephesians, Paul calls believers everywhere to fight against a similar neglect of prayer in their spiritual lives. Like the lack of oxygen-awareness pervades the bulk of humanity, similarly, a lack of God-consciousness infects many professing Christians. We say that we love God, and we speak of Him at church and with our ultra-spiritual friends, but when it comes to the day-to-day grind, any thought of the One who sustains our very life is shuffled to the back of our minds and we go on living and ignoring the Sustainer of all things.
This should not be the case. Every day of our lives should be filled with a constant God-awareness. Some might argue, “but life is so busy and so urgent, how could I ever remember to pray to God at all times?” Others might say, “I forget to think about God, if I simply had a reminder to remember that He is there, I would pray more.” I would give two thoughts as a reflex to these common retorts.
First, those who find themselves in desperate and seemingly out of control circumstances somehow find ways to turn to God for help. Even in simple cries of petition, the human heart begs the Divine for any assistance. Perhaps the greatest reason that most don’t turn in prayer constantly is because they have a false sense of security believing that since things are going well this instant, they have no need of God. The problem is not that they are busy and that life is urgent as much as they feel self-secure and believe that they are sustaining themselves through their busyness and urgency. For these, the self-deception of security and safety needs to be replaced with a firm grasp on their constant need of the sustaining hand of a gracious God.
Second, to those who wish they had a reminder of the presence of God so that they would more often turn in prayer to Him, I would simply point out the myriad of forgotten and neglected reminders that God placed around them. Clearly the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Beyond that, every human being is created in the image of God. There is not a lack of reminders, simply a lack of awareness to those reminders.
Paul finishes the Epistle to the Ephesians with this call to be constantly aware of God’s presence and His power to help. Prayer will be the evidence to us that we truly believe in God. It will demonstrate to us whether or not we truly have faith in the One who sustains all things. If prayer is lacking in your life, allow the reminders that God has placed throughout Creation to bring you back to a constant awareness of His presence and power.

Reflect: Read through Ephesians 6:18-24. What things does Paul tell the Ephesians to be always praying for?