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Excellence in Prayer

No matter what our age, our years of Christian service, our maturity in ministry, we will always need to keep growing in the exercise and discipline of prayer.

By George O. Wood

Ernest S. Williams was general superintendent of the Assemblies of God from 1929 to 1949. People throughout the Assemblies of God deeply loved and respected him for his humility, wisdom, and godliness. Years before he became our leader, he had been one of my mother’s Bible schoolteachers.

I loved to hear him pray. He had a rich, deep, baritone voice that could cut through fog. As a young married couple pastoring our first (and only) church, my wife and I came from California to Springfield for a visit. Brother Williams was in his 90s. We called on him in his humble home. We just wanted to get his blessing and have him pray for us. It was a moving and memorable moment. What a power experience to hear an old saint approach the Throne of Grace on our behalf.

I never heard the apostle Paul pray, but the Bible allows me to rewind back through 20 centuries to listen in my spirit as he prays. I want to specifically focus on his prayer in Ephesians 3:14–21: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

No matter what our age, our years of Christian service, our maturity in ministry, we will always need to keep growing in the exercise and discipline of prayer. In this article, I want to encourage you, as you fulfill God’s call on your life, to be a person committed to excellence in prayer.

As we enter into Paul’s prayer, let me note two things: his posture and his preface.

Read the rest of this article by obtaining a downloadable PDF of the Winter 2011 issue of Enrichment journal.

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