We’re studying “the prayers of a missionary heart” on Sunday mornings, and recently examined Paul’s petition in Ephesians 1:15-21, “A Prayer for Spiritual Enlightenment.” Our challenge is to pray these requests for our lives and for other believers, including our church family.
In Ephesians 1, Paul didn’t pray for material blessings, but for spiritual perception. In verse 19, he prayed “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” The word understanding means heart.
I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints. Ephesians 1:19
The heart in New Testament thought refers to the real you, the place where you decide what values will guide your life each day. The direction of your life flows out of your heart.
Did you know that your heart has eyes that at any moment may be open or closed? If you stumble through life making bad decisions or falling into sinful patterns, then the eyes of your heart may be closed.
One recent morning, I was driving towards the office early and was on highway 54 east. I noticed a man up ahead running toward the highway and then into the highway as I approached.
Earlier, I wiped the morning moisture off of the rear window and my side windows so I could see my mirrors, but the moisture returned. As I approached, I realized this pedestrian was not going to stop. I looked at my left side mirror to see if I could switch lanes, but I couldn’t see. I glanced at my rearview mirror to see if someone was behind me if I needed to stop quickly, and moisture blocked that view, also.
I slowed down and fortunately we didn’t collide. I could see partially but not completely. Interestingly, a person can see and be blind at the same time because the eyes of his heart are closed to spiritual truth.
Two observations come to mind as I pray, Lord, please open the eyes of my heart.
First, you don’t have to be an intellectual giant to grasp spiritual insight and absorb spiritual truth. Just have a tender heart that seeks God’s truth. The eyes of your heart must be open to God.
My scholastic career was not outstanding, but neither was it mediocre. We “B” students kept plugging away, making some “A’s” here and a few “C’s” there. However, I was a horrible standardized test taker. I bombed my SAT the one time I took it. My score today certainly wouldn’t get me into Georgia College where I started and Georgia Southern where I graduated. But that score didn’t mean I was a dummy.
anyone with any test score can have a tender heart open to God’s truth and can grasp spiritual insight.
Also, as a freshman, we were required to take the Regent’s Test to proceed from English 101 to English 102. The Regent’s Test supposedly proved you could write. You purchased a Blue Book, reported to the auditorium at 8 a.m., was assigned a topic and hand-wrote an essay.
I was strong in English, had writing ability, was heading toward a career in communications, but failed my Regent’s Test. That meant I had to repeat English 101.
My English professor, Ralph Kicklighter, was furious with the system and went to bat for me. I was highly insulted because I knew the grading was so subjective.
However, with wounded pride, I repeated English 101 and passed my Regent’s Test the second try.
The point is anyone with any test score can have a tender heart open to God’s truth and can grasp spiritual insight.
Opening closed eyes is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. It’s not up to us to pry people’s eyes open to God’s truth and to force spiritual insight. That’s the Holy Spirit’s task.
Second, opening closed eyes is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. It’s not up to us to pry people’s eyes open to God’s truth and to force spiritual insight. That’s the Holy Spirit’s task.
We present God’s Word and lay out biblical truth, and it’s the Holy Spirit’s place to convict and move in people’s lives. We can pray that “the things of earth will grow strangely dim” and people will open their eyes.
After preaching this sermon and giving the invitation, a man came forward and told me, “The eyes of my heart have opened. I’ve been out of church for 20 years, and God told me last Sunday to go to church. I came here, and today I come to join.”
God was working in that man’s life as I preached that sermon.
Is your heart open to God’s truth? Are the eyes of your heart open?
(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, near McCurry Park, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook).