• Shawn Thornton

Beyond "Saying Grace"

Tuesday - January 25th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 1:15-23


I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly. Ephesians 1:16

Over one hundred years ago, Bovey, Minnesota photographer Eric Enstrom photographed Charles Wilden saying a prayer of grace over a simple meal. By the mid-twentieth century, that photo, simply titled "Grace," became one of the most iconic pictures hanging in American homes. Many families had it displayed over their kitchen or dining room tables.

The photographer paid Wilden five dollars to waive his rights as the photo's subject. Little is known about Charles Wilden. He earned a meager living as a peddler and lived in a sod house outside Bovey. Nothing is known of him after he was paid to waive his rights to the photo. But his image became synonymous with "saying grace" before a meal for an entire generation of American families.

There may be no other picture depicting someone praying that became so iconic within the American culture. Yet, for some, it represents the extent of their prayer life. They "say grace" before a meal but rarely, if ever, spend time praying about anything or anyone else. Don't get me wrong. Thanking God before a meal serves as a healthy reminder that everything we have (even a meal) comes from the good hand of our God. But the Scriptures call us to a deeper and broader prayer life than "saying grace" before we eat.

In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul tells the Ephesian believers how he prays for them. He makes it clear that they are included in his regular prayer life. "I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly" (Ephesians 1:16). He goes far beyond "saying grace." He prays personally for other followers of Christ and their walk with God in this world. How long has it been since you have prayed specifically for some of your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Today, write down the names of 3-4 Christian friends. Pray for them each day this week. Use Ephesians 1:15-23 to provide some of the content of your prayers for them. Ask God to grow them spiritually, provide for their well-being, and give them a clear witness for Christ, among others. Ask God to cause them to flourish in their walk with Him.

"Saying grace" may be the starting point of a healthy prayer life but praying for others deepens our walk with God!

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