With Spiritual Eyes

When we pray many times we find ourselves asking the Lord for trivial things that in reality have no weight in the spiritual life. Paul writes in the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 1 and verse 18: ” I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” When we bring our prayers to the Lord, what are the topics that we present, especially those for whom we pray?

The Apostle Paul’s prayers for the brothers of the first century were charged with deep spiritual perception. A verse back in this same chapter, in verse 17 says: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Later also in this epistle in 3:16-19 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Writing to the Philippians in 1:9-11 also says: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” And in the letter to the church in Colossae he writes in 1:9 the following: “…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.”

How clear was the apostle’s understanding of the things that truly are an essential part of spiritual life. And I think something very important in Paul was well tuned, and that is why he pleads with the Father in prayer for those who read his letter, that the eyes of our heart –spiritual eyes– may be enlightened. Many times what stops us from a breakthrough in our Christian journey is our way of seeing the realities of this passing life. We see situations with physical eyes; we see relationships from a very human perspective; our resources are measured as measured by the world does, resulting in frustrations, anger, anguish, fear or depression. But Paul’s desire just as God is to learn to see what really matters. What will move us forward. Jesus also gives us a sample of how we should see life. Not with physical eyes that only see the natural and earthly; but with the eyes of the heart, those who can only be opened and enlightened by the action of the Spirit. In Luke 19: 41-49 Jesus laments for Jerusalem; when others saw majestic buildings, streets and a crowd, Christ saw a lost flock that did not recognize that his Pastor was calling them. Or in Luke 10: 18-25, when the seventy envoys return full of extraordinary stories and experiences on this missionary journey; Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven like a thunderbolt. And when others saw that Samaritan woman with contempt in John 4:27, thinking that her life was messy and empty, Jesus saw an opportunity in his ministry. The same can be seen with the rich man of Luke 18:22, others saw a pious man and with a desire to live according to the kingdom, but Jesus saw a man whose god was his possessions and money.

Seeing the spiritual reality is the result of the activity of the Spirit in our life, but it is also the consequence of a discipline on our part. Paul wrote in the second letter to the Corinthians in 4:18 that in the midst of the permanent trials, he decided not to fix his eyes “on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

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McKinney at Cardinal

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