Posts Tagged ‘Graham Cooke’

As we pray: Ephesians 3:14-21

June 7, 2016

Ephesians-3-21

The Verse of the Day for June 6, 2016 is part of a powerful prayer that God inspired Paul to write for the “Saints at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,” which would include all followers of the Lord Jesus, including you and me. The heart of the prayer is drawn from Ephesians 3: 17-19, but verses 14-16 introduce the prayer and verses 20-21 close out the prayer in this manner:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man:

16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]?

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [e]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

In addition to this awesome expression of God’s desire for His people, we find a similar prayer in Ephesians 1:15-20, revealing Paul’s petition to God on behalf of fellow believers. In fact, the Church Epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians and elsewhere in the New Testament provide a rich display of God’s intentions with regard to prayer. Such passages of Scripture can be used to construct what Graham Cooke calls “crafted prayers,” whereby believers use the Bible to construct specific targeted prayers that can be used individually or corporately. Cooke describes such prayers as being so designed that those who pray them will know the joy of always getting you prayers answered,

As We Pray

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

as we pray always for you,

Colossians 1:3

During these dark times, we focus on the Kingdom,

Established and grounded on a sure foundation.

As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,

New paths of this Apostolic Reformation

Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.

Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.

Aware of consequences of each decision,

We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.

As we renew our minds, we are transformed and change:

With a “kingdom mindset” we now see with new eyes.

Beyond past narrow limits our view is long-range.

We number our days with each sunset and sunrise,

As the Word commands: pray without ceasing, night and day,

Knowing that God always fulfills his will, as we pray.

We close with a Scripture Song based on the prayer so lyrically and  powerfully expressed in Ephesians 3:14-20:

The Secret Place: Place of intimacy

August 1, 2015

Psalm 119--114In Psalm 119:114 (NLT) we find the Verse of the Day for August 1, 2014:

You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.

Here is the same verse in the King James Version:

Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Another expression of this place of intimacy is the term “secret place” which is most notably used in the Book of Psalms. While the term generally refers to a physical location, it most often expresses a state of an intimate relationship with God. Verse 5 of my favorite Psalm puts it this way in the New King James:

Psalm 27:5

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20 reiterates the same message in the New King James:

You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

“The secret place” is a place of intimacy, the place of sublime fellowship of the highest degree. Where do we find this connection with the Father? In “the secret place”–in the most holy place–“the holy of holies”–where the presence of God abides–God’s habitation, God’s dwelling place.” The lyrics to a love song by Brenda Russell express God‘s desire for us to meet Him in “the secret place”: “. . . I don’t care how you get there, get there if you can. . .” Where is ‘there’? ‘There’ is the secret place.” Most amazingly, “You can get there from here.”

We recognize that “the secret place” is precisely that–a place that is secret–between you and God. The secret place is not the marketplace, not the workplace. Secrets are revealed in “the secret place”–no strangers can enter “the secret place.” Psalm 91:1 in the Amplified Bible reminds us

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].

When I think of this special place of intimacy with God, I recall a discussion regarding intimacy with God where Bible teacher, Graham Cooke, made a number of statements that arrested my attention:

“Every man who has walked powerfully with God has learned to deeply worship God.”

“The most important part of ministry is not in power but intimacy.”

“If you’re not walking in intimacy, you can walk into unconscious idolatry.”

“Intimacy is the most important part of your life.”

“If you only understood just how much God loves you and longs for intimacy.”

Psalm 27, a psalm of David, makes reference to intimacy with God, and the poem “Intimacy,” a Psalm of Lonnell, expresses a similar yearning:

Intimacy

You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me

from trouble; you shall compass me about

with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7

Flood my blood with love and remove all fear.

Fulfill this yielded vessel, clothe me and

Draw me nearer, closer than breath or tear.

Share with me the intimacy you planned

For man to cherish and enjoy before

You fashioned earth or gave to man his form.

Whisper divine secrets hidden in store

Within your heart, my shelter from life’s storm.

Fill my ears with words of peace that shall bring

Forth my lifelong song in your melody

That I may vocalize your will and sing

In one accord, in perfect harmony.

More intimate than friend or kin or wife

Is close-knit love God weaves within my life.

This entire discussion brings to mind a song of great comfort and strength to remind us: “You are my hiding place,” offered by Selah:

 

Psalm 18:1-2: My rock, my fortress, my deliverer

February 4, 2014

Psalm 18_1--3

In the Psalm 18:1-2,  Verse for the Day for February 4, 2014, we find two references to the strength that comes from God Almighty: “O Lord, my strength” and “my God, my strength.” As I reflected upon this passage, I recall a “crafted prayer” that I composed as I petitioned God that as believers, we might be strengthened in the Lord.

Developed by Graham Cooke, the concept of “crafted prayer” involves using the Scriptures to construct specific, targeted prayers, addressed to God. Such prayers may be expressed individually as well as corporately. In his book Crafted Prayer, Cooke reveals that those who “pray the Bible” or use the Scriptures as the basis for their prayers will experience “the joy of always getting your prayers answered.”

A Crafted Prayer that We Might Be Strengthened in the Lord, Our God

O God, you have been our help in ages past; you have delivered our souls from destruction in days gone by, and we know that you are a very present help in the midst of every one of the trials and tribulations that we face each day, as you continue to deliver those who call upon your name. God of power and might, you are our hope for every tomorrow. As the days of our lives unfold before us, we face the future with confidence, knowing that our times are in your hands and that you shall deliver us out of the hand of the enemy.

God, you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We come to you, the source of all strength and might, thanking you that you have fortified us through Christ Jesus. We know that the Lord saves His anointed; you will answer us from your holy heaven with the saving strength of your right hand.  Though our flesh and our hearts may fail, God, our almighty fortress, is the rock and firm strength of our hearts and our portion forever. In the day when we cry out to you, you answer us and strengthen us with strength in our souls.

We declare that the LORD is our light and our salvation; whom or what shall we fear? The LORD is the strength of our lives; of whom or what shall we be afraid? You declare that we should not fear, for you are with us. We should not be dismayed, for you are our God. You will strengthen us; yes, you will help us. Indeed, you will uphold us with the right hand of your righteousness.

We had fainted, unless we had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. As we wait on the LORD, we will be of good courage, assured that He shall strengthen our hearts. We are confident that as we wait upon the LORD, we shall renew our strength. We shall mount up with wings as eagles; for you make known that just as you bore Israel upon eagles’ wings and brought them unto yourself, so you will elevate us and raise us above any circumstance that seeks to keep us from being all that you have called us to be. As we wait on you, we know that in due season, we shall run, and not be weary; and we shall walk, and not faint.

As you bless and refresh us and fill us anew with your overflowing goodness and mercy, so we pour into one another, as we encourage ourselves and one another in the Lord, Jesus Christ, who infuses inner strength into us. We minister and pray for one another that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, as we go from strength to strength, and glory to glory, even from faith to faith. Your desire is that we may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of your glory, to exercise every kind of endurance and patience, perseverance and forbearance with joy.

We conclude our petitions with this declaration:

That we will be strengthened, perfected, completed, and made to be what we ought to be. We will be encouraged and consoled and comforted and will be of the same agreeable mind one with another. We proclaim that we will live in peace, knowing that the God of love, who is the source of affection, goodwill, love, and benevolence toward men and the author and promoter of peace is with us. We make known that according to the riches of God’s glory, that we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith; that we, being rooted and grounded in love, are able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height and that we know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that we are filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. All these things we declare to be so through the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, our soon-coming King, who is the strength our lives. Amen.

The essence of the message of the Verse of the Day is embodied in the song “Praise the Name of Jesus”: