Join us, today, as we talk about a great way to pray for our loved ones. If you're like us, you spend most of your time asking God to make them happy and keep them safe. Right? I mean. Isn't that what we always want for those we love? We can get downright specific, too. Asking for straight A's for our kids and a bigger house and such. Paul shows us an amazing and actually better way to pray. Join Nicole and Sharon for this look at what they are calling "Soul-Care Prayer" in Episode 67. Then, settle back in and listen. They're going to pray some of those prayers over you.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 67. We’re calling it Soul Care Prayer. Well, Sharon, last week we counted blessings together and now we are moving on to prayer, but this sounds a, like a very specific kind of praying. What exactly do you mean when you talk about soul care prayer?
It is very specific. Yes. There’s all sorts of prayers. There’s communal prayer. When we pray together as Christians like the Lord’s Prayer. Now that’s a great example. There’s praise prayer when our focus is on God himself and just telling him how wonderful he is. What I mean when I talk about soul care prayer is literally praying for someone’s soul. It’s praying for the part of them that’s not physical body. The part that houses your personality and choice making abilities, sort of the seat of who you really are. The part that lives on after death, housed in a new body in heaven. You know, I was guilty as a young mom of praying too often for my children’s safety and temporary happiness and too little for their souls. Safe and happy, keep them safe and happy. That was my little theme song, right? So, but Mom in Prayer taught me to pray for their character and their souls and I just have never been the same since, and my prayer life really changed with that. So, you know, it’s just easy to want life to go well for your kids, right?
Oh, let them get A’s. (Nicole: Yes) You know, I never once prayed ‘could you give my daughter a D,’ right? (Nicole: Right) I mean, I just never thought to do that. Just, give them A’s. I wanted them to have great friends and have friends that never let them down, that were always there for them.
Though, that’s reality. (sarcasm) You know, but that’s what I would want. So how about you? What are some prayers you find yourself praying for your kids that aren’t really related to their souls growing closer to God, but more to their physical needs?
Yeah. I find myself praying a lot lately for their health and safety or that they won’t feel lonely on the playground, you know, something like that?
Yes, of course.
Yeah, or forget math homework again. I do always pray that they’re kind, but I would love to learn to pray more for soul building, you know, the eternally lasting qualities for sure.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, exactly. And let’s be real. There’s nothing wrong with wanting good things for your kids, (Nicole: No, no) praying that they’re not lonely on the playground is a wonderful thing to pray. And then when God answers it and they see God’s answer, they see God working in their lives, that’s really, you know, it’s what all good parents want. I actually can’t imagine any parent holding a newborn baby in their arms and looking at them and saying, I hope I ruin your life. And then it goes terribly for you from beginning to end. I mean, no one does that.
It’s not our desire. No one says that, but unfortunately, wanting everything safe and happy and easy all the time might not always be best, in the long run. For example, always getting straight A’s in school? That sounds great, right? (Nicole: Mm-hmm) But it can do damage. It really can. It can develop high stress levels in a child cause they have to keep up the A’s once they’ve started.
Oh that’s true, yeah.
And then there’s the pressure to never get the B, so that’s bad. Or they could be prideful at how amazing their abilities are. (Nicole: Oh yeah.) Or they could have no empathy for kids that struggle to learn because it came so easy to them.
Oh, that’s true.
So it’s, it’s not always, it’s not always good to have straight A’s.
No, and we don’t always think of the long term effects on their character of some of these things. You don’t think, oh, getting straight A’s, that’s a good thing. Right? That’s what everyone says. You know, it’s much easier to focus on them doing well and performing well right now. (Sharon: Oh yes.) Because it’s keeping up with like that American culture and dream of like successful things and you know, it’s tough. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) Or you know, even making us look good as their parents?
Oh, I fell into that trap too. I did.
Yes. It’s a very easy trap to fall into. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) Another example I could think of would be if we always gave our children everything they ever asked for, they may grow up and not appreciate the value of things or feel the joy and the satisfaction of saving up and working hard for a thing of value. I mean, it’s fun to give our kiddos nice things, but we need to be thoughtful of the effects of these actions long term as well.
We do. We do. And so sometimes when we ask for a good thing and the Lord allows the hard thing, he might be doing deeper thing.
That’s a great point.
And we have to receive it. (Nicole: Yes) Although we’re like, man, I wanted them…
To have the other thing.
Right. So well, Paul in our section today does not spend a lot of time praying the Ephesians will be wealthy, famous and comfy.
That’s true. He doesn’t.
Not at all. He just goes right for the soul. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, I mean, he’s not like, oh Lord, help them to have a successful business and no, no, no, no. So let’s read this passage together. Let’s have our Sweet Selah Moment. It’s a stunning and wonderful example of soul care prayer. And I think we can learn a lot from it.
Ah, this will be great. All right. I’ll start and we are reading from Ephesians 1:15-23. “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere”
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly”
“Asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called, his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power”
“That raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
“Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else, not only in this world, but also in the world to come.”
“God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.”
“And the church is his body. It is made full and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself.”
You know, I love Paul’s first sentence. It’s kind of a continuation of that honey sandwich from last week. (Nicole: Oh yeah.) He’s still pouring into them his love, making sure they know how much he cares. Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I’ve not stopped thanking God for you.
That’s a great kind of sandwich.
That’s so nice. I know it. And you know what? It actually follows the two big commandments to love God and love others.
Oh, that’s true.
First he compliments them on their strong faith in Jesus and then he compliments them on their love for God’s people. And they had it much harder than we do. I mean, there were no heated car seats. (Nicole: No, laughing) Right? Having a strong faith in Jesus back then was a good way to never have money or success. And it often led to a martyr’s death. Including Paul, eventually. And yet there they were, loving and trusting Jesus. I want to have a faith like that, Nicole. I tell you without God’s help, I’m gonna fold under persecution. I hate pain. (Nicole: I know) They did it through the strength that the Holy Spirit gave them.
Absolutely. They had to. You know reading more about the early church and what they had to face? They were really courageous.
They really did stick close to God because they were faced with some intense challenges.
And it certainly encourages me to face the struggles in front of me remembering their struggles, that maybe they had it a little bit harder.
That last part of the verse is interesting Sharon, about loving God’s people everywhere. I wonder if he didn’t want them to just huddle in like a small Christian group in Ephesus and to maybe kind of lose heart that they were the only ones in such a hugely pervasive pagan culture, you know? But to realize how big God’s family is. Or maybe encourage them that God’s people are everywhere. I don’t know.
I kind of like that thought a lot because Paul was missions’ driven, right?
He was called to be a missionary and Jesus’ command was to go to all the world and preach the gospel to every nation. So by loving people everywhere, they’re aware of people outside of Ephesus. They’re aware of people around the world and we need to do that too. (Nicole: Yes) We need to love people everywhere.
Yeah. Oh, that’s so cool. And actually we can do that more easily because, almost overwhelmingly, the news tells us about people everywhere.
Right. Oh, that’s true. And we can pray for them and be aware. Huh? Very cool.
Well, Paul finishes that first thought with the conclusion that he just can’t stop thanking God for them. I wanna remember to tell people that I thank God for them because I actually really do. On my Thanksgiving Thursdays I thank God for all kinds of people. I thank him for the wonderful team he surrounded me with in this ministry. They’re an incredible group of women, including you, my friend.
I need to remember to tell the people themselves too, though, that I’m thanking God for them. If I were an Ephesian, I would feel so loved (Nicole: Oh yeah) by what he just said.
That’s really sweet.
So now we’re gonna turn to the prayer. Paul says, I pray for you constantly asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. How can he, he says, I pray for them constantly. Let’s just start there. What do you think that means?
Well, that is a great question.
I think it pushes us to ask ourselves if we’re talking to God all day, you know? Or even mindful of him. I know I have gone sadly many days without, you know, completely ignoring God, and it’s not been a very good few days. We’ve talked before on a previous podcast about different types of prayer. And one of them is just conversational, constant talking with God throughout the day. Like you would easily chat with a good friend on the phone for a while or over a nice cup of coffee, just sending up little prayers as God brings people to mind. Or as you see a need in front of you. Or as you get a little grumpy with your husband or kids or dog. But I think Paul might have added more disciplined prayer for them as well into his day because we can’t always rely on our wandering hearts to remember to lift up the needs of others (Sharon: Mm-hmm) so important to us. We need a good system, a list or a habit in place. I wonder if Paul, like maybe did he pray for them whenever the guard walked by his room? You know, like…?
Some sort of reminder to pray for them constantly. Like, who knows, you know, I’ll add him to my list of people in heaven to interview on his prayer method.
Definitely. Yes. My girls had an eighth grade teacher at PCA who asked if they would pray for him when they brushed their teeth. (Nicole: Oh) Isn’t that funny? It’s a trigger.
Yeah, something that you do daily.
Like that guard going by. Yeah, that’s so fun.
So I wonder.
So boy, but now we get to hear the soul care praying, asking the glorious Father, note how he’s still praising God. (Nicole: Yeah) The glorious Father to give them not wealth or comfort, but to give them spiritual wisdom and insight and why, so they can grow in their knowing of who God is, their knowledge of God. He wants them to know God more. And guess what? That’s our slogan!
That sounds familiar.
Sweet Selah Ministries. Taking time to know God and love him more and more. Oh Paul. Yes! That’s what we want. That’s what we want. That’s what we want. That’s our whole focus.
Oh, I love that. We really do need wisdom and insight from God to even begin, to try to understand all that God is and his huge and great never ending love for us. If we try to work God out in our own feeble, sinful human minds, people get so lost.
And we may even give up altogether trying to learn about who he is. I think Paul was aware of this and I love how his heart for them is spiritual growth, Sharon. You know his next sentence continues, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called. His holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance”. (Sharon: Mmm) This is such a great visual. If you think about it, a room that’s flooded with light with, you know, no darkness can remain all shadows or questions of what is that hairy thing in the corner? They’re gone cause you can see clearly. When our hearts are flooded with light, it will remove all the doubts and silly questions that we don’t need answered to truly love and trust in God. I don’t know. What do you think about that?
I love that thought about the shadows and the murky darkness. It’s so true when you can’t see clearly, you know, just a bathrobe hanging can look like something awful. (Nicole: Could be a Creepy something) Right. Yeah. So he’s praying for them to have such light in their lives that there are no creepy shadows that things are clear. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, and to see the world through God’s eyes? What a wonderful thing to pray for your children.
To pray for each other. Lord, help us to see the world. Flood my mind with that kind of light so that I see things correctly; that I don’t get messed up with lies from the enemy. It’s oh yeah. That’s so good.
Yeah. And he, Jesus, is the light. So it’s even more of a permeating light. It is cool.
It is. Yeah, yeah. What a great thing to pray. (Nicole: Yeah) I love it. Well, Paul pivots in this next part, Nicole, he starts to pray about people understanding God’s power. And then he winds up talking about God’s power because Paul cannot stop praising God.
A little rabbit trail.
How amazing it is. So listen to how it changes from a prayer to a praise. It’s so fun. So here we go. “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe in him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else. Not only in this world, but also in the world to come. God has placed all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” Man, he just got on roll.
He got all fired up there.
Yeah. We always underestimate God’s power. We just do. Just because he doesn’t unleash it all the time doesn’t mean it isn’t there and he doesn’t have it. (Nicole: Right) He does. I can remember one absolutely horrible time in my life when a loved one was suffering and I just was so helpless to help. Someone reminded me of this. He said something to me like, ‘don’t despair Sharon. We serve a God who raises people from the dead.’ And I’m like, oh yeah. (Nicole: Wow) That’s right.
I serve a God who can raise people from the dead. Right. Okay. So maybe I should not be so freaked out about this. (Nicole: Yeah) God is able to do anything he chooses. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is hopeless. Now that doesn’t mean he is going to do things my way and he didn’t in that case, although he did work it out for great good. But you know, it settled me just remembering I serve a God who raises people from the dead.
That would be a big comfort for sure. I like that. I know. I feel like we limit God to what we can do. And so we often forget how big he is and what, in that he sees the whole picture. So he knows that even the horrible, painful parts will end up being good someday.
Yes he does. Mm-hmm.
And we can’t let hopelessness keep us from praying. Look what happened to Jesus in the rest of the verse, after all the horrible things poor Jesus had to endure on his way to a wrongful and undeserved excruciating death. And after the hopelessness, his followers all felt, look where God has him now. It’s that whole part that Paul gets fired up about. (Sharon: Yeah) He raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now Jesus is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else, not only in this world, but in the world to come.
So at the end it’s pretty spectacular.
Pretty spectacular. And God has put all things under the authority of Christ for the benefit of the church. What do you think that means?
I don’t know. It’s kinda like, I think because Christ, he’s like an intercessor now because he was human. He went through all of that (Sharon: Mm-hmm) so he understands the pain and the struggle. He died and rose again so he can kind of mediate. We don’t, we don’t see much of God’s wrath in the New Testament after Jesus took it all on the cross. I’m thinking maybe.
Yep, that might be part of it, for sure. For sure. The fact that under Christ’s authority he intercedes and he understands our weaknesses. That’s true.
Right. He can kinda like, I think the Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer (Sharon: mm-hmm, mm-hmm) but I think Jesus being that link to humanity and God. (Sharon: Yeah) I don’t know, maybe that’s why we’re underneath him.
Maybe it is, right. And with him, definitely the authority in the end, it’s all gonna work out so much better (Nicole: Mm-hmm) so there’s that too. So well, Nicole, let’s finish up with the last verse in this section. Paul has moved away from soul care to a definition basically. We’ll talk about that and then circle back to practical ways to practice soul care prayer ourselves.
I like that. All right. So, the next verse is “And the church is his body. It is made full and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself.” This is a great verse to end on. We are made full and complete by Christ. I cannot add or take away any thing for me to make me less complete in him. That’s comforting.
That is. And it says he fills all things everywhere with himself. We are completely surrounded by Christ. And can’t you just see him in nature?
So many times in just going for a walk or even letting the dogs out or in studying science with the girls I see Jesus in the details. It’s like, oh look, there he is. It’s so fun. And actually one of my favorite videos, I watch it with the girls, Louis Giglio does this great video on this thing called laminin. It’s actually the cell that literally holds our bodies together. And when he finally brings up the slide at the end of the talk and talking it all out, it’s in the exact shape of the cross.
I’ve seen that. (Nicole: It’s so cool) And it gives me goosebumps every time.
It does. I never get sick of it. It’s just so wild.
Talk about a detail.
Yeah. It’s so cool. So listeners you’ll have to look up and see this video cause it’s pretty cool to see.
It really is neat.
Jesus is holding us together everywhere down to the littlest, tiniest fiber of ourselves.
That’s keeping ourselves together. (Nicole: Yep) And it’s in the shape of a cross.
Without it we’d all be bloop.
Yeah, we would. We’d be floating everywhere. (Laughing). Oh my goodness. Well this Nicole, what we just read, this whole beautiful prayer is an example of how we soul care pray. We pray for spiritual insight. We pray that our beloveds come to know God more and more. And that they see his power at work, in their lives. We pray for the part of them that’s gonna live forever. I think that’s so important. (Nicole: Yeah) For the kind of character growth that will see them through the hard days. Cause there’s gonna be hard days.
It comes to everybody. So I’m so excited to get practical now. Dear listener we are about to pray for you friend. We’re gonna pray for you in categories using God’s word and prayers already there for us to bless you. Just enjoy this. We hope these examples will be useful to you as you develop your own prayer life and pray for those you love as well. And Nicole, you’re gonna get that first category and that first prayer for our listeners.
Perfect. All right. I’m gonna pray for those of you out there who feel stressed and anxious. I’ll be praying from Philippians 4:6-8. I’ll read it first. “Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now dear brothers and sisters one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about these things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Oh Lord. It’s so easy to worry. And it’s so hard to obey your command, not to worry about anything. Please be with those who are worried right now, help them to turn those worries into prayers. Remind them Lord that no concern is too silly or trivial. Help them to come to you freely knowing that you will listen. Help us all to tell you what we need and to thank you for what we know you’ve already done for us. God help us to be thankful even when we are stuck in a worry cycle, you promise us peace when we do this. Peace that exceeds anything we can understand. I pray that your peace will guard hearts and minds today as I pray so that our friends who worry can live in Christ Jesus and not in worry.. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. Amen. My turn. I get to pray for those who are feeling unloved. I’ll be praying from Romans 8:31-34; and 38-39, which says this. “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who could ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own son, but gave him up for us all won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own. No one. For God himself has given us right standing with himself who then will condemn us? No one. For Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us. And he’s sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand pleading for us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life. Neither angels, nor demons. Neither our fears for today, nor our worries about tomorrow. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below. Indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Let’s pray. Oh, heavenly Father, thank you for this reminder that we need when we feel unloved. That you are for us. And when you are for us, God and King of all things, it doesn’t matter who’s against us. You love us. You didn’t even spare your own son, Lord, but gave him up for us. And we thank you for that. You are the one that gives us right standing with you. And that can’t be taken from us. Oh how I thank you for that kind of love and Lord, I thank you that you list all the things that can’t separate us because we keep thinking things can, but nothing separates us from your love. And I pray for the one listening today that they would know, that she would know, that he would know that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither their fears for today, nor their worries about tomorrow. Not even the powers of hell will separate them from your love for them. Father, there’s nothing in all eternity, there’s nothing in creation that can ever separate us from your love. May this listener today feel it, know it, believe it. You love her. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those who have young. Lord, help all of the dear moms out there listening to these words, help them to remember that you are a God who’s so gentle with us that have young and even not so young ones. Help us to rest in that grace, as we give of ourselves to the littles in our life. Help us to remember to go to you when we are weary for you promise to gather us close to your heart, right, where we need to be, to find true and lasting comfort. I pray, especially for that mama, that just feels at her very end and is so very weary. Help her to find comfort and love in your arms. Thank you Lord. In your name. Amen.
Amen. You know, I discovered that verse when I had little ones and I’m like, oh, there’s a verse for those that have young. Nicole: Oh) I loved it. I’m like, Lord, you think of everything. (Nicole: I know) And I also love that he’s gentle with them. He knows, we got all can do to just get through some days and the 5,000 questions being asked us, and the spilled milk. So he gently leads. It’s just the most beautiful verse. (Nicole: I love that) I love it so much. So I’m gonna close out now by praying this whole beautiful Ephesians passage for all of us, for our Sweet Selah family, we do love you all. We’re so thankful that you listen and you write us and that you feel the way we do. That knowing God and loving him more and more is just the best. So, okay. Lord, I thank you so much for this Sweet Selah family. I thank you for those that have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus and I thank you for those that are just learning about the Lord Jesus. I thank you for how our supporters love God’s people everywhere and how they have loved on us. Lord, help us never to stop thanking God for them. Father help us to pray for each other constantly, remembering each other before you, asking you the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to give that spiritual wisdom and insight as we have our Selah moments each day.
Help us to grow in our knowledge of you, Lord God. In all our studies, may it be to know you better, not just to puff ourselves up. Father, I pray that our hearts would be flooded with light so that we understand the confident hope you’ve given to those you call, that we remember we’re holy people who have a rich and glorious inheritance. Father chase away the shadows, expose the lies, shine your light. Lord, I also pray that we would understand the incredible greatness of your power for those that believe in you. Forgive us Lord when we forget just how powerful and big you are. Thank you that it’s the mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in a place of honor at your right hand, God in the heavenly realms. I praise you that you rule Lord Jesus far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else. Not only in this world, but also in the world to come. I praise you God that everything is under your feet. Everything is under the authority of you, Christ, who’s been made head over all things, and that is for the benefit of us, your church. Oh, I thank you that we’re a body that we’re not isolated, that each of us has a part in the body that makes up the church. I praise you that you can make us full and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself. God we look to you every day, help us as a Sweet Selah family to grow in our knowing, to grow in our love for you to grow in our understanding that we might serve you better and just keep loving you more and more and more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. Thank you so much for joining us today. You can find us at SweetSelah.org/podcast, and we always love to hear from you. Join us again next week for episode 68. We are calling it Marvelous Mercy.
Speaker 1 (27:26):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can print and download the transcript here.