Praying In the Spirit
Powerful God, renew in me Your generous nature. Today, may I express–not withhold–love to You and others.
Read Ephesians 3:14-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Love and power, the themes of these verses, are the forces which shape our lives, our homes, our countries, our politics, our world” (N.T. Wright).
Paul is so overcome in writing this letter to the Ephesians that he breaks off to kneel in prayer for them. They are his family and the close bond of family love makes him turn instinctively to their Father. Once again we see how strongly Paul relates to the Trinity. He directs his prayer to the Father (14), asking for the power of the Spirit so that the Son may dwell in their hearts through faith (16,17). We can sense Paul’s passion and emotion as he offers up this prayer. Two factors stand out: a longing for the Ephesian church to grow spiritually, and his own experience of the depths of Christ’s love.
Although the prayer is intercessory, Paul is not asking for the kinds of things that often concern us. There are no requests for healing, for relationships, guidance or protection. In asking that the Ephesian Christians might be blessed, his focus is on spiritual blessings. He wants them to have an experience of the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they may know Christ in their whole inner being. It is as if Paul is suddenly concerned that the church in Ephesus has only a superficial grasp of Christ’s love; he longs for them to experience more. The words he uses to describe that love are spatial–wide, long, high, deep–but, ultimately, it cannot be measured or fully understood (18,19).
Paul longs for his readers to be “filled” with God (19). It is a tall order! How can we work out how fully God dwells in us? We probably can’t, but we can identify areas in our lives where we have not yet let God “dwell” (17). Since God can do more than we ask or imagine (20), why not invite him there today?
Can you pray Paul’s prayer for yourself or for people you know? Ask God to show you, now, those who need you to pray this for them.
Amazing God, I am humbled to think You can greatly multiply my efforts for You. Enable me to trust You immeasurably more.
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