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by Wyley Wilkin

All my life, I have been blessed with having supportive and loving family and friends. Every now and then, I'm overcome by the realization that their prayer, intervention and encouragement have been avenues that God has used to express His love for me. For instance, I don't know how Lyndsay and I would have made it through the dark season of her leukemia treatments without the support and prayers of our family and friends. Nor can I imagine how we could have managed adopting two children at once - an undertaking not for the faint of heart - without the involvement of family, friends and church. Those relationships have been the handholds in the Rock that I've clung to.

I've also grown and been refined as I supported, prayed for, and encouraged my friends and family as well. This is the endless cycle of the love of Christ at work in our hearts as we receive and give blessings. And the fuel that nourishes it all is prayer.

We can't make it on our own. God did not design us to. He meant for us to link arms with one another in prayer as together we face the storms of life. And just like me, we will find ourselves on the receiving and the giving end of those powerful prayers many times in our lives.

My great-grandmother, who couldn't walk or see well in her last years on this earth, would spend hours a day praying for me and my family. Now my grandma has taken up that mantle and I believe it continues to be the fuel that feeds the legacy of a Christ-centered life for my family.

The church, as our brothers and sisters in Christ, should also be the family we offer up to God as an incense of prayer (Revelation 5:8). We cannot hope to further His cause, follow His will or maintain faithfulness to Hiim without striving for unity among the believers through love and prayer. And when our unity is challenged by the trials and discontents of life and the work of our Enemy, it is prayer that will restore the unity necessary to be the healthy body of Christ.

May we, like my grandmother and great-grandmother, continually take up that mantle of prayer, lifting each other up in love as we navigate life together so that we "may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdon and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1: 9-10, ESV).

READ Ephesians 1:15-23
Paul is showing us how he prays for the church. What does he pray for in:
Verse 16?  Verse 17?  Verse 19?  Verse 19?

We get the church we pray for! Pray for our church using Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church as an outline for what to pray for, but personalize it and put it into your own words. When we all pray for the church we will experience the "endless cycle of the love of Christ" as we pray for others and are being prayed for by others.