For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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.
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…
Once again, we have a written record of Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was a strategic location but also a difficult city to minister in. Ephesus was known as a center for occultic worship and paganism. Therefore, Paul asked God to strengthen the believers in Ephesus in the inner man. Paul knew that in order for the Gospel to thrive in that city the church would need God’s strength to overcome large social and religious obstacles. Some might say this would be true for us today as we live in a post-truth culture. We are currently living in uncertain times caused by the pandemic, racial tension, and political unrest. In recent years, we have seen an increase in the opposition to Christianity in our culture. Let us pray for each other that God will give us the strength to stand to the end.
Paul also prayed for the believers in Ephesus that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Living in a pagan culture, Paul knew that their faith would be tested. Paul wanted them to realize that their faith in Christ would need to be strong to endure the hardships they would face as a result of their faith. This would also be a relevant prayer for us today as we see our culture embracing human secularism and rejecting the ultimate truth of Jesus Christ.
Third, he prays, “you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love.” Here Paul is praying that the believers in Ephesus would know the dimensions of the love of Christ. The words “rooted” and “established” imply the importance of this knowledge concerning the vastness of God’s love as expressed through the person and work of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to understand this. Once we are secure in our understanding of God’s love for us, we can be the light of Christ in the darkest places.
Lastly, Paul prays that the believers there would be “filled with all the fullness of God.” In his commentary on the book of Ephesians, Francis Foulkes writes, “He (Paul) prays that they may receive not any attribute of God, or any gift of His, not love, not knowledge, not strength, alone or in combination—but no less than the very highest he can pray for, the full indwelling of God. The apostle does not want to pray for anything less than that God’s people may be filled to the very fullest of Himself that He seeks to bring into their lives.” Paul desires that the believers in Ephesus would know and fully experience God’s presence in their lives.
Questions to Ponder
What did you learn from Paul’s prayer in the above text? How might what you have learned impact your prayer life moving forward? In light of all that is currently going on in our culture, how relevant is Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus today? Do you find security in knowing how much God loves you?
- Pray back Paul’s prayers in Ephesians 1:15-23 and Ephesians 3:14-21. The Lord has used both these prayers to transform my prayer life as I have prayed them daily over the last 20 years. Pray them for yourself, your family, our beloved Oak Pointe Family, and the greater one church. Be expectant as He answers your prayers to know Him more and to comprehend and apprehend/take hold of His love.
- Pray for all those who are elderly and living alone who will be having or have had Thanksgiving alone. Pray the reality of being alone physically would cause each person to cry out to our Father in heaven, and that each person would know Him better as Comforter, Friend, Constant Companion, One who sticks closer than a brother, Indwelling Spirit, and Lover of our soul.
- Pray for all those in leadership roles (federal and local government, schools, churches, hospitals, etc.). Pray for them to have godly wisdom as all of them have hard decisions to make each day during these interesting times. Pray for them to be surrounded in prayer and encouraged by local churches. Pray we will shine gloriously, making the love of Christ known.
I kneel before You, Abba, from whom Your whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen Your church with power through Your Holy Spirit in each one of our inner beings so that You, Christ, may dwell in our hearts through faith. I pray that we all will be rooted and established in love. That we would have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Your love, the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge. That we all may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of You, oh God.
Now to You who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to Your Holy Spirit who is at work within us, to You, oh God, be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (adapted from Ephesians 3:14-21).