The First 15

Friday August 5, 2022

by Sharon Reid

Today is Friday, August 5, and we are exploring, through prayer, chapter five of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Opening Prayer

I begin this time of prayer in stillness and quiet and I invite the Holy Spirit to be my guide.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, lead me into a place of deep connection with you in these moments. With each breath in, remind me of your inexhaustible capacity to refresh my soul. With each breath out, remind me that through the cross of Jesus Christ, our brokenness is healed. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I pause now to give God thanks and praise and worship, using these ancient words of all God’s people in Psalm 133.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. – Psalm 133:1-3

Pause and Pray

Once again, we carry with us into the reading these two important themes found within this week’s teaching by the Apostle Paul: “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18b) and “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:31-33

Sometimes I hold important truths in the wrong order. Paul reveals a ‘profound mystery’ that helps me understand the order of things more clearly. God did not create the union of Christ and the church after the pattern of human marriage, but just the reverse. Marriage is a sacred reflection of the magnificent and beautiful mystery of the union of Christ and his church.

Nothing can be fully understood until the ‘mystery of Christ’ is put in the center of our view.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings lived his life on earth by the discipline of submission. He is co-equal with the Father and the Spirit in the Trinity and yet he chose to live his life on earth in submission to God in all things.

Just as “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy” (Eph. 5:25b), husbands and wives are called to love, serve, respect, listen, trust, submit to one another, and be filled with the Spirit so that their marriage relationship becomes a reflection of the ‘profound mystery’ of Christ and his church. The church is made holy and is sacredly fused with Christ, the King who came to serve and to save. Christ makes the church one holy flesh.

Ask:

  • What changes in me when I place this ‘mystery of Christ’ in the center of my view?
  • What changes in my relationships when I place this ‘mystery of Christ’ in the center of my view?
  • What changes in my understanding of the church when I place this ‘mystery of Christ’ in the center of my view?

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, help me notice a particular word, phrase or thought you want me to carry throughout this day as I slowly read the passage once more.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:31-33

What word, phrase or thought from this passage is God’s Spirit guiding me to notice? How will I carry it with me throughout the day?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me look inward and pay attention to what you have led me to see and hear. I invite you to transform me in these moments so that I might reflect the thoughts and actions of Jesus Christ throughout this day. Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-7

Closing Prayer

Lord, as I leave this time of prayer, make me ready to be faithful to you in every way. Jesus, make me ready to serve others with your compassion and grace. Holy Spirit, transform my inner thoughts and motivations so that all I do, I do to please you. Amen.

The First 15

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