A Prayer for inner strength and spiritual ability

Read Ephesians 2:19 – 3:1-21

Let’s take it step-by-step

  • The house of the Triune God
    • God, the Father:  People in this household are called citizens and members of God’s household (Ehp 2:19)
    • Jesus Christ:  He is the chief Cornerstone  – in Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  In Christ we are being built together to become the dwelling
    • Holy Spirit:   Through his Spirit God lives in this spiritual dwelling.(Eph 2:20-21)
    • The builders of the house
    • God ordained the apostles to lay the foundation (Eph 2:20)
    • Paul, now in prison, is called to be a builder (Eph 3:1)
    • He was saved by grace and appointed to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (1Timothy 1:12-14, Galatians 1:11-17, Eph 3:8-9)
    • God gave Paul the power – He made him able – to be His servant. (Eph 3:7)
  • The members of the house
    • Both Israel and Gentile together form the people of God (Eph 3:6)
  • The building material
    • The mystery regarding Jesus Christ:  the Gospel (or Good News regarding God’s plan revealed in and through Jesus Christ) (Eph 3:4)
    • In previous generations God’s eternal plan was not made known, but after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it has been revealed to the apostles and prophets. (Eph 3:5-6, 9)
  • The Church
    • This house, the spiritual temple, made up of both believing Jew and Gentile called through the Gospel, is called the church. (Eph 3:10)
  • The calling of the church – to make known the manifold wisdom of God to
    • the rulers of the kingdom of the air (Eph 2:2, 3:10, 6:11-12)
    • What God has done through Jesus Christ should be made known (Eph 3:11)
    • To accomplish this task the church should ask God’s help in the Name of Jesus Christ – He gave us freedom and confidence (Hebr 4:14-16).

Now the prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21

Paul’s first prayer in essence is this:

He prays for a power to be holy, power to think, act, and talk in ways utterly pleasing to Christ, power to strengthen moral resolve, power to walk in transparent gratitude to God, power to be humble, power to be discerning, power to be obedient and trusting, power to grow in conformity to Christ.

Everything said up to this point in time is included into the phrase “for this reason” in verse 14.

Because of God’s grace to both Jew and Gentile, his grace in Jesus Christ, his grace to the apostle – his whole plan of building a church:

  • Paul now prays for those in Ephesus who were not Jews to begin with.  They

…were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.(Ephesians 2:1–3, NIV)

  • Paul confesses that (through the work of Jesus Christ) those who are called Christians – both the church militant and the church victorious – get their name from God:  they are his people.
  • A prayer which expresses the work of the Triune God
    • God the Father is the One who possesses the glorious riches
    • The Spirit provides the strength
    • Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts
  • Paul pray for a display of God’s mighty power in the domain of their being (inner being) which controls man’s character and prepares us for heaven.
    • This will only happen when Christ “dwells in your hearts through faith.” (Eph 3:17)
    • Paul prays that Christ will truly take up his residence in the hearts of the believers, as they trust Him, so as to make their hearts his home.

“When Christ by his Spirit takes up residence within us, He finds the moral equivalent of mounds of trash and a leaking roof.  He sets about turning this residence into a place appropriate for Him, a home in which He is comfortable.  There will be a lot of cleaning to do, quite a few repairs, and some much needed expansion.  But his aim is clear:  He wants to take up residence in our hearts, as we exercise faith in Him.” (D.A. Carson)

So, the house – the church – which God is building must be occupied by Jesus Christ and be a dwelling place fit for the Holy Spirit.  This is a work only God “out of his glorious riches” can accomplished.  All the blessings God has for us are tied up with the work of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s second prayer 
  • he prays for members of the church to be firmly rooted – like the tree beside the stream of waters with it’s roots deep down to drink the living water, with roots strong enough to withstand the storms of life
  • he prays that they will grow in their and love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ
  • he prays that they will have the ability (power) to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of God in Jesus Christ (Eph 3:18)
  • he prays that they will share together will all believers their knowledge of that love
  • he prays for their continued growth in the understanding of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
  • he prays for ultimate spiritual maturity which is rooted in the indwelling of Christ, and fed by his love which is above all knowledge

It speaks for itself that this type of love is far more than an infatuation or fondness – or a mere emotional drifting on a cloud.

  • To love Christ truly, is to completely and totally yield to his will.
  • To love Christ completely is to do his will.
  • To do his will is to do my part in the household of God
  • To love Christ is to make known – even to the worst enemy of Him – the wisdom of God:  Jesus Christ is Lord over them.

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