July 25, 2021

The Power of Prayer

Passage: Psalm 145: 10 -18; Ephesians 3: 14 – 21
Service Type:


July 25, 2021  






  • Welcome to St. Andrew's online worship service; may it be a blessing to your soul.
  • Thank you Rev. Shirley Cochrane for leading our worship today
  • St. Andrew's AGM will be held August 1st, 2021 following the service. Please bring a bag lunch and something to drink.
  • July's Loonie Offering is going to NOSBIS (North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society). For more info see the "Recent Posts" to the right of your screen.
  • Please remember Rev. Ena van Zoeren in your prayers as she continues her holidays; may she be refreshed in body, mind, and soul.
  • This week, in our community, we pray for: Schools, Students, Teachers, Parents, College



Great is the Lord who is worthy of praise. 

No one can ever measure the greatness of our God. 

Let us worship God who is faithful in all things. 

We will sing of God’s power and speak of God’s loving kindness. 

O God, we proclaim you our ruler in all things, 

and we will praise your holy name forever and ever. 



Gracious and generous God,  

we gather each week in wonder, marvelling at your mysterious presence  

in the awesome beauty of the world, and in surprising encounters in our lives. 

We gather with grateful hearts, amazed by the abundance in your creation,  

abundance we can share at our tables and in our communities,  

abundance in food, in friendship and in faithfulness. 

We gather with hopeful hearts, seeking another taste of your love for us,  

hoping that others will share in the wonders of that love. 

Your love for us all is mysterious and miraculous, O God,  

with the power to transform times that overwhelm us  

and lives that hunger for hope. 

We gather, trusting that you will move once again in our worship,  

and open before us the new possibilities you create for all your people  

in Christ, the Bread of Life, bread for our journeys. 



Gracious and Generous God,  

we gather each week to be fed by your love,  

trusting that you embrace each of our lives. 

We confess we are not nearly so generous with our love. 

We hold back what we have,  

fearful we lack enough for our own purposes and desires. 

We take advantage of opportunities for ourselves,  

and forget to see if someone else is in need. 

Forgive us, O God, when our fear makes us stingy  

with your gift of abundant love. In Jesus Name AMEN 



The Letter to the Ephesians declares that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith,  

for we are being rooted and grounded in his love. The forgiveness he offers is a gift of this love that is wider and deeper than we can ever imagine. 

Receive God’s forgiveness with faithful hearts,  

and be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. 




HYMN Majesty 


Majesty, worship his majesty
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor, and praise
Majesty, kingdom authority
Flow from his throne, unto his own, his anthem raise
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King

Majesty, worship his majesty
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King
Majesty, worship his majesty
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings 

Credits Writer: Jack Hayford 


(to view the readings and the sermon please click here)


Psalm 145; 10 -18  



10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations. 

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.[a]
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, 

to all who call on him in truth. 


Ephesians 3:  14 – 21 

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 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, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 


Speak to us through the scriptures this day, O God, and by the power of your Holy Spirit, give us a deeper understanding of your Word for our lives and our times, through Christ, the Living Word. Amen. 

Julies Verne, a famous writer in the late nineteenth century was known for his science fiction and his ability to envision things beyond imagination. In a world before flight, Verne wrote of space travel and a trip to the moon. Ships were just converting from sail to steam, but Verne wrote of a submarine that was powered by a strange force -foretelling of nuclear power. The people of Julies Verne’s day did not believe that any of the things he wrote about would ever happen, because at that time they were beyond imagination. 

Paul is a Christian theologian.  Like Jules Verne, He writes of things beyond imagination. However, he’s not like the writer of Revelation who writes of spiritual warfare, seven headed dragons, and global destruction. Paul writes about the cause for amazing examples of faith under fire, world changing prayer, and creative love.  

You are probably familiar with the idea that GOD LOVES YOU. When life is good, and our prayers are answered as we want, it is easy to believe that God loves us. But when life is in turmoil—when there is disappointment, confusion, or discouragement and sometimes disaster, we might doubt God’s love. 

Many people struggle, at the core of their being, with a deep sense of unworthiness. Deep down, they feel that if people really knew them, they could not, would not love them. Some even feel that if God really knew them, he could not and would not love them. 

To keep their feelings of unworthiness hidden, some people try to hide their thoughts and feelings, from God, and certainly from other people. They go into a state of denial, or they make excuses, to convince themselves and others that they are really not that bad. Yet the sense of unworthiness persists, resulting in fear, depression, or being hyper-critical of other people. 

The good news of God’s love is that he loves unworthy people! The Son loves unworthy people enough to die for them! Romans 5:6, 8 says, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The Son of God loves people who don’t deserve it! 

It is impossible to truly know love by reading a definition in the dictionary. Love is experienced personally, and God’s love is experienced personally and relationally. God’s love is personal. 

In his commentary on Ephesians, John Stott writes, "One of the best ways to discover a Christian's chief anxieties and ambitions is to study the content of his prayers and the intensity with which he prays them. We all pray about what concerns us and are evidently not concerned about matters we do not include in our prayers. Prayer expresses desire." That is so true, isn't it? Prayer expresses the desire of our hearts. When we ask for prayer requests, so many of our prayer requests are for ourselves or health concerns. 

Does your mind ever wander when you pray? I know mine does. And so did the mind of the Apostle Paul. To be sure, his wandering mind was much more spiritual than mine. Paul begins his prayer in Ephesians 3:1, only to break off into a digression about the mystery of the gospel and his call to the ministry. Then he returns to his prayer in verse 14. This is clear when reading verses 1 and 14 together: "For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles…For this reason I bow my knees before the Father." Perhaps Paul needed a prayer list too. 

Chapters 1-3 are a statement about God’s overflowing and saving grace. These verses of Ephesians are the heartfelt prayer of the prisoner, Paul.  Paul does not pray for himself. He does not feel sorry for himself. He is innocent, yet in jail. 

In the last half of Ephesians 3 he pours out his heart to God in prayer for the believers in Ephesus. Verses:14-19 shows Paul praying for God to empower the family of believers and grant them a greater knowledge of his extraordinary love for them. 

Jesus’ love is permanent.  He doesn’t love us only when we are doing what He wants us to do.  He even loves us when we fall short of God’s will.  This love was so strong that Jesus gave up His life so we could have access to God.  Jesus’ love is not self-serving but self-sacrificing and unconditional. Paul says the love of Christ is a “love that surpasses knowledge,” which we can only understand as God opens our hearts to his love. We need the Holy Spirit to grasp God’s love, because God’s love goes deeper than knowledge 

The word Paul uses for knowledge does not mean a fact you learn.  Rather, it is learned by experience.  The only way I can learn of Christ’s love is to experience it personally. and experience this great love of Christ. 

Like the child that’s told over and over not to touch the hot stove, he doesn’t fully understand until he touches it.  Then the experience of a burned finger gives him a new type of knowledge.  It’s not an intellectual fact he now understands but it’s a knowledge gained through experience. We can pray that we will understand  

It is not that Christ’s love can be measured and its limits determined; rather, the author prays that the church will come to know the infinite reach of this love in all directions It is such love that we “comprehend with all the saints.” This is what worship, service, fellowship, and the whole life of the church is about. This divine love is not knowledge gained by private study, but love learned in the fellowship of the church. In this community we learn the love of Christ — both Christ’s love for us and what it means to love Christ in others, including our enemies from “every family.”            

Paul wrote in verses 14-15, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named." Paul is making a deliberate play on the words in the original Greek, because Father is pater and family is patria. Because all believers are in Christ, they and we are sons and daughters of God the Father. We are united to Christ and are united to one another. 

At its core, prayer is relational. The amazing central message of the Bible is that God wants us to know his love. What should we do? Spend time with him, talk and listen, share thoughts, hopes, dreams, frustrations, desires, and everything else. If we pray like that, our love relationship with God will grow. 

Paul prayed so earnestly for the Ephesians because he knew that they desperately needed something that can come only from God: power. So, Paul prayed in verse 16, "…that according to the riches of his glory he [that is, God] may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being." 

When do Christians need spiritual strength?  We need it all the time.  Paul was specifically asking this for the Ephesians as they were enduring persecution.  If they were to stand firm through this struggle, they needed supernatural spiritual strength. We must have spiritual strength to overcome sin.  We need spiritual strength when we share with others about Jesus Christ.  We should never think for a second that we are going to have just the right words to say that will cause someone to become a Christian.      

Last week our reading assured us that God has already broken down the wall that divided Jews and Gentiles (2:14-16). Today’s prayer is focused on the church, but the gracious plan of God is as wide as the cosmos, It is the God who is Father of every race, tribe, clan, and nation who calls, equips, and sends the church on its mission to that whole wide world. 

Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse pointed out that love is intrinsic to all aspects of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. He said, "Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long-suffering is love enduring. Kindness is love's touch. Goodness is love's character. Faithfulness is love's habit. Gentleness is love's self-forgetfulness. Self-control is love holding the reins." There is no fruit of the Spirit without love! Believers are rooted and grounded in this love. 

Paul's use of the Greek word for dwell (katoikesai) is important. It means "a certain, fixed and durable dwelling, as distinguished from paroikéo, to sojourn, dwell in a place temporarily." It carries the idea of a permanent resident rather than a temporary, or short-lived, resident. 

  1. A. Carson illustrates the difference between a permanent and a temporary resident. When Christ takes up residence in a believer, it is like a couple who purchase a home that needs a lot of work. Over time, they clean it up, repair it, and eventually they say, "This house has been shaped to our needs and taste and we really feel comfortable." Then Carson says,

When Christ by his Spirit takes up residence within us, he finds the equivalent of mounds of trash, black and silver wallpaper, and a leaking roof. He sets about turning this residence into a place appropriate for him, a home in which he is comfortable…. Make no mistake: when Christ first moves into our lives, he finds us in very bad repair. It takes a great deal of power to change us; and that is why Paul prays for power. Christ is transforming us into a house that pervasively reflects his own character. Christ lives in every believer. And he is working in every believer to make him or her more like himself. 

That is brought to a fitting conclusion with this prayer and doxology, as the author prays that the church be filled by the God who is able to do more than we can imagine. The author’s vision of the church’s mission is breathtaking: “that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10). In order to live out that mission, the church needs God’s strength, power, and presence; that is, the church needs this prayer, and the one who is the object of its closing doxology. 

We serve a God who accomplishes things for His children that we have never even thought to pray for.  God is so rich in mercy and power and love that He works in ways far greater than we even could comprehend. As we pray for each other we will experience God working in ways we didn’t pray for and in ways we had never even thought of. We see this principle in the Bible.  As we read, we see it over and over. 

Abraham could not ever have known all that the Lord would do in his life. He was called from the land of Ur and God stated from you will come offspring that will number as many as the stars…through you all the nations of the word will be blest…Jesus came from Abraham’s line…All the nations are being and will be blest. 

Noah, survivor of the flood - the shepherd David who became God’s chosen King – two more examples of those who experienced God in a way they never dreamed possible.  These people were not special, but they all had one thing in common, God had granted them faith. 

As we exercise faith in Christ, we will experience unimaginable things at the hands of our heavenly Father. When stress comes, it becomes clear how deeply we are grounded in the love of God 

Paul began to rejoice because he knew all these requests were in God’s will and that God would grant all of them to His church. 

No matter how good your imagination, no matter how ridiculous your prayer requests may seem, God has the power to deliver and do even more than we ask! But if that’s true, why doesn’t God answer more of our prayers? Although Paul said that God can do more than we can ever imagine, he didn’t say that God would do whatever we ask. That’s because not everything we ask for is what’s best for us. And so just as your earthly father didn’t buy you a candy bar every time you asked for one, though he could have, so our heavenly father doesn’t say “yes” to every request we make of him. He knows the things that we ask for aren’t always for the best. 

We know if a tree has deep and healthy roots, then the whole tree will be healthy and produce beautiful and plentiful fruit. So, we as God’s people will be healthy and produce beautiful, plentiful fruit if we are rooted in Christ’s love; if our foundation is solid in Christ’s love, just like a solid foundation keeping an entire building on solid ground. So, then, what is given to us out of God’s fullness and placed inside of our hearts will influence, instruct, and motivate our thinking and feeling, our speaking and acting—and determine how we live. 

The life that Paul envisions is neither boring or humdrum. It is not based on empty religious rituals, or a God that exists to do our bidding. The Christian life that Paul imagines is based on God’s love and power. It is a life of faith, hope. abundance, and excitement as we are used by God in unimaginable ways to accomplish God’s will that goes beyond our wildest dreams. 

God will transform the world beyond our greatest dreams and fondest hopes. Such knowledge gives us strength, faith, patience and hope to endure and to wait with anticipation. With expectation we can pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  AMEN 


675  Precious Lord take my hand 

683  I know not why 

209  His name is wonderful 



The story of Jesus feeding the crowd with a few loaves and fishes is a parable of God’s power to multiply our gifts offered in Jesus’ name. So make your offering to God as you are able, and trust that God will create abundance from what we have to give. 





God of abundant love, we offer our gifts to you willingly, yet sometimes we wonder what they can achieve in a world of great need. Bless our gifts and multiply them in your love. Surprise us with your power, working in us and through us, to accomplish worthy things in the name of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. Amen. 






We praise and thank you O Lord that you have fed us with your word. Grateful for your gifts, we offer our prayers for all people  


God of mystery and miracle, you are calm in our storms and challenge in our satisfaction. We give you thanks for all the ways we have tasted your abundance, in friendship and fellowship, in food on our tables and safety on our doorsteps. 


Amid these everyday satisfactions, keep us mindful of those who lack the necessities of life and who find each day unpredictable and anxious. 

Throughout the world and in our own communities, we witness increased divisiveness and hatred toward those considered a threat. We pray that you will take away the mistrust and lack of understanding that divide your creatures and that you will increase the recognition that we are all your children. Like Jesus’ disciples caught on the rocky sea, we fear the storms of life. So many people know turmoil in war and displacement. 


In so many countries and in our own neighbourhoods, we witness great inequity and deep need for even the basic staples of life. Fire and flood, drought and famine have devastated communities, homes businesses all around the world Loss of life has appeared to accelerate.   


In our communities, congregations and families, we witness uncertainty about the future and the cost of months of pandemic isolation and lockdown. 

In our own lives and the lives of so many friends and neighbours, we witness depression, anger, anxiety and despair, as we cope with the uncertainty of these months of restrictions and the grief they have caused. We lift to you those who have been intimidated by false information, internet conspiracies and now live in fear   


We pray for all victims and survivors of human trafficking, and we give thanks for those who work diligently to end all forms of human trafficking. 


We are thankful that the number of wildfires is beginning to drop. We pray for the firefighters, aircraft crews and others who are coming from out of province and Mexico to aid the ongoing fight We give great thanks that the weather temperatures are normalizing but there is still a great need for much rain  


We hold before you in these moments of silence the people and places in need of your healing presence. 

(Keep silence for 20 seconds) 


Loving God we give thanks that you hold us close I the palm of your hand for our community we lift to you our sisters and brothers in the churches who are gathering for worship-   still sometimes uncertain with changing rules with the lifting of health restrictions.   WE lift to you the school board, teachers’ students from kindergarten to college as they look forward in preparation of a new school year  

Here in our hearts and conversation we lift to you ………………………… 

We also bring before you the silent prayers of our hearts ……… 


And now, trusting in your steadfast love and faithful presence, we pray as Jesus taught us: 


The Lord’s Prayer 


HYMN Put on the garment of praise 



Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  May the love of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit be with you today and always  Amen. 


SUNG BLESSING:  Take O Take me as I am