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Prayer, Plain and Simple

“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” (Ephesians 1:16-18).

What’s your WQ?

IQ matters. EQ – emotional quotient – matters more. But WQ – wisdom quotient – is the matter itself. Today I pray with Paul the Apostle for “spiritual wisdom and insight.”

Wisdom is the synthesis of God’s universal principles with his intimate, personal direction applied to my specific situation. That alloy of the Truth as transcendent reality and detailed, particular application is the single most precious treasure in the entire universe. Proverbs puts it: “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” (16:16).

This wisdom can’t be gained through hard work, clever study, shrewd alliances, or lucky breaks. Wisdom is purely and exclusively a commodity of God, and I “get wisdom” only inside relationship with him. Solomon who relays this proverb seemed to grasp this, at least early in his life. God offered him any gift and he chose wisdom, which insured all the secondary gifts he could have claimed. If I have God and his ability to meld general truth into specific application, I hold the very keys of the Kingdom.

God longs to transfer his wisdom for my moment of decision, reminding me of universal truth and directing me to apply that truth in the minutia of my context. When I’m not clever enough, I can always ask. The Bible is full of examples of leaders who were wise enough to know their limited minds and ask God for counsel in their very moment of truth. God has this ‘insider information’ for every quandary. As James says (James 1:2) If I know I lack wisdom, I can ask for it and I will receive.

Paul describes God’s response to this ask: “that your hearts will be flooded with light…” Wisdom is like sudden light in a dark place. In an instant, everything is clear! I was once walking in the woods late at night. Clouded skies blocked all starlight and I could barely see one step ahead. Suddenly, a thunderstorm exploded and a lightning bolt flashed. For one brief instant I saw everything around me in vivid clarity, the massive towers of cloud, the trees, my own shadow cast on the ground. Then it faded and darkness returned. The light of wisdom might rise slowly like the dawn of daylight. It might hit like a flash of clarity. Either way wisdom brings the light of God.

Knowing I need God’s counsel, asking for it, waiting for the light of insight, then putting this direction into practice is the sequence of wisdom.

Reflection

Today we pray Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 1:16-18. Take a moment and read it. Twice. Again. As you repeat this ancient appeal, you, along with untold millions over 2000 years are inviting God’s intervention in your decision process. Pray it again, this time taking up something quite specific, something puzzling you, a relationship tension, a financial dilemma, a choice between two good paths. Ask for wisdom with this challenge in mind. Wait. And where by a slow dawning or a bolt of lightning, catch and apply God’s wisdom as he gives it.

Response

“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” (Ephesians 1:16-18).

Through the day and beyond

Through the day, hold out your problem. Ask for wisdom. Wait for the ‘flash of light’ as wisdom from God. Act on what you discover.

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