Theme: Paul had taught of the glorious gospel of Christ, including the outworking of it in a new humanity, the church. Paul prayed for those truths to become cemented into our hearts.
He wanted us to experience the great truths of Ephesians 1-3.
- Ephesians 2:5 (ESV)—5 …made us alive together with Christ…
- Ephesians 2:15 (ESV)—15 …that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two…
Introduction To Paul’s Prayer (14-16)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory
14 For this reason: The motivation of Paul’s prayer — the new humanity, with new life, with a new head. This isn’t a prayer of thanks, but intercession (request). He wants something for us.
14 Bow: The intensity of Paul’s prayer — To sit or bow or fall on your face in prayer expressed intensity. Paul’s bowing was emblematic of his heart. This was an intense desire, important in his mind!
14-15 Father / Every family / named: The target of Paul’s prayer — God the Father who loves the world. He made humanity in His image. He is the original Father; earthly fathers merely borrow His title. He loves all the people He has made. He is glad to put them into a new humanity.
16 According to the riches of His glory: The appeal of Paul’s prayer — God is able to do this.
Paul’s Prayer (16-19)
Now we come to the prayer itself. It is substantially the same prayer — for deep connection to the love of God. But there are various facets to that singular prayer.
It is trinitarian — the Spirit, Son, and Father are all involved.
Request 1 — For The Spirit To Strengthen Your Inner Person.
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Your new inner person will need strength to live in this new reality.
- Matthew 26:41 (ESV)—41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
- The new reality of the gospel is so foreign to us, the temptation will be to live naturally.
- Romans 12:2 (ESV)—2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
This inner person must be strengthened by the Spirit.
Request 2 — For Christ To Settle In Your Heart.
17a so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
We know Christ dwells in us by His Spirit.
- Ephesians 1:13 (ESV)—13 …sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
So what is Paul praying?
- Dwell: To settle down and feel completely at home in…
- Paul wants Christ to take up permanent residence in our hearts, to be at the center of our personalities, that His cross and gospel would shape our values and our living.
This is a prayer for Jesus Famous.
- Growing up I knew about Jesus. When I finally began to know Jesus I began to say with Paul, “the love of Christ controls me” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
- “Poverty begins to decrease as people become overwhelmed with a generous heart like Jesus. Marriages and families begin to grow strong as people learn to forgive and serve like Jesus. Adoptions begin to occur as people learn of the family of Jesus. Sin begins to be cast off as people learn how much God paid for them: the blood of Jesus. Worship begins to be fervent as people learn the unsurpassed value of Jesus. Prayer begins to align with God's purposes as people learn the priority of the kingdom of Jesus. Justice begins to flow as people learn of the just heart of Jesus. Disciples begin to develop as people learn to have the mind of Jesus. Those enslaved to sin begin to be loved as people learn of the compassion of Jesus. Churches begin to be planted as people embrace the mission of Jesus. When Jesus is famous the core motivations of our hearts are deepened. The applications are endless.” — Article: Jesus Famous
Request 3 — For Love To Establish You.
17b that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
What love? The love of Christ (19).
We are to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love.
- Rooted: His love is to be your root system.
- Grounded: His love is to be your foundation.
We are to grow in our comprehension of Christ’s love in every direction.
- Breadth: Wide enough for the whole world.
- Length: Long enough for God’s eternal purposes.
- Height: High enough to raise both Jew and Gentile alike.
- Depth: Deep enough to rescue us from anything.
His prayer: Not that you would love Christ more, but understand Christ’s love more.
Request 4 — For God To Fill Every Part Of You.
19b that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The goal: fullness of God.
MSG — Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
We are to allow the ideals of God to become our experience.
- That godliness would fill each one of us to the brim.
- Especially in relationship to one another (as the context dictates).
- Matthew 5:48 (ESV)—48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
One day it will fully happen.
- 1 John 3:2 (ESV)—2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Goal Of Paul’s Prayer (20-21)
20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The goal of this prayer — glory for God. When the church lives out the love of God in Christ it leads to glory for God.
- If Ephesus did not return to their first love they would lose their light — Revelation 2:5 (ESV)—5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Remember the words of Christ? — John 15:9–11 (ESV)—9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
- Connection to His love leads us to an obedience to His word — because we find Him worthy of obedience. Obedience leads to a full joy experience.