16” do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:16-18 NKJV
You have to love Paul’s heart and hope that there are Paul’s in your life. These are people who direct their prayers for you and not for self, who put you first and pray for you to grow in wisdom, revelation and a deeper knowing of Jesus personally. We all need people in our lives who pray that we come to know the richness of the things of Jesus in our daily walk. To become that kind of Christ-follower who prays first for others and not for self should also challenge us.
Paul prayed ceaselessly for others and he did so give thanks to Jesus because he believed with certainty in the results of his prayers in the lives of others. This is our example, and what a great example it is. Paul was not concerned about self. His first care was for others because he had learned that Jesus would take of his needs. Since he was not worried about his own needs he could focus his spiritual attention and faith toward helping others reach the promises of God for their lives.
If we are honest with ourselves, our prayers rarely include others because we are too consumed with our own lives. If we focus on others, trusting as Paul did that Jesus will meet our needs, we will find that moving our heart of prayer from self to others then allows Jesus to meet our needs. Because once we get ourselves out of the way (by focusing on others and not self) He can move unimpeded through us.
One of the first things I ever heard Jesus speak to me as a young believer was about this truth. I was alone with Him in prayer and had never heard Him speak to me before. As I prayed and then listened I heard Him say words that I have tried to live by ever since. He said that as I took care of the needs of others, He would then take care of my needs. For thirty years as I have tried to take care of the needs of others and He has so faithfully and powerfully taken care of my needs while my focus was elsewhere. It is what Paul understood and why he could pray more passionately for others, instead of for self. Direct your prayers away from self in confidence of faithfulness and pray and speak words of faith over others and watch the results in their lives and yours.
J Todd Hostetler