There are many things that amaze me in the Word of God. One of those things is the continuity of what Paul says in his letters. One of those places is found in Ephesians 3. Paul is writing the prayer that he prays for the Ephesian church. In this prayer he is building up to the last half of this letter. Paul’s way of writing was to first lay a theological foundation and then bring a practical application. Chapters 4-6 are a practical application of what Paul wrote in chapters 1-3. In other words, if we do not get the foundational truth straight and begin to apply to our hearts the practice of that truth, we will be limited at best.
Let’s look at Paul’s prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-19. In verses 14 and 15, Paul is talking about the Father to whom he is praying. That is a study in itself, but I want to look at the content of Paul’s prayer. Ephesians 3:16 says, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” I want us to notice the word “that” because it says so much. The Greek word is “hina” and it means so that or in order to. Paul is asking the Father to grant to you and the Ephesian church that we would be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. The word strengthened means just that. Notice that Paul is not praying for power. The power of the Holy Spirit is already in the inner man of every believer. Paul is asking for that power to be released and the power of the Holy Spirit to be released in the lives of believers. The picture we get here is a believer having the power of God inside of them, but they need to allow that power to be released into their lives. The power that Paul is talking about is the explosive power of God. This power has unlimited potential. It can and will change anything. Paul is praying that the believers would have this power in their inner man by the Holy Spirit. Paul is asking the Father to help us release that power.
Notice how Paul begins verse 17. The word
“that” is not in the Greek text. It is implied because of the previous text. Paul is continuing his prayer and now he is asking that Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith. Paul knows that Christ is already resident in the inner man of believers. What is he praying? The word dwell tells us. This word means to be established or settled in. Paul is asking that believers would settle or establish the residency of Christ in their hearts. Paul did not say in the inner man of the believers. He says in the hearts of believers. This is the Greek word kardia. We get the English word cardio from this word. In this verse, Paul is not talking about the physical heart of the believer but the mind of a believer. This is what Paul is praying in this section of his prayer. That the believers will establish in their minds the residence of Christ the Anointed One of God. We can possess Christ in our inner man but not establish that fact in our minds. This all happens through faith. I know that many times I do not feel like Christ is in me but that does not change the fact. We establish Him in us by accepting the fact through faith. Faith is what God’s Word says and not in what we feel or even think.
The next thing that is in Paul’s prayer is that
we are already rooted and grounded in love. That is a fact. The word rooted means to be established and immovable and the word grounded means to have a foundation laid. Paul is stating this as a fact that has already taken place. In other words, we will never be removed or uprooted from love. In verses 18 and 19, we see two words that tell us what Paul’s prayer is. The first word is comprehend. Paul prays not only for the Ephesians but for all saints that we would be able to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s love. The word comprehend is misleading at times. We think it means to understand. But the Greek word that Paul uses here means to seize or lay hold of something. I remember flying over the Andes Mountains early one morning. All of a sudden, the plane dropped 500 feet per the pilot. I laid hold of the seat in front of me. That is what Paul meant
when he prayed for us that we would grab hold of God’s love and never let it go.
The next thing that Paul prays for in regard to the love of God is that we would know it. This is found in verse 19. The word know is the Greek word ginosko. It means to be acquainted with something. It is used in a way of having met someone and have a personal knowledge of them. Paul is praying that we would be acquainted or know the love of Christ. You may be saying that he then says it is beyond knowledge. What is Paul talking about? The key is in the fact that the first word know is a verb and the second is a noun. The verb tense is in the aorist tense which means it is continual. What Paul is praying is that we will continue to be acquainted or know the love of Christ, but we will never know it fully.
The last thing Paul prays for is that we would be filled with the fulness of God. To be filled means to accomplish or to come to an end or to be completely filled. Again, this is a continuing action verb. Paul is praying that we will be completely filled with God. In other words, that we will have the fullness of God in our lives.
In closing, we realize that in order to accomplish the things that are found in the last three chapters of Ephesians, we must lay in our mind and heart the things that Paul prayed for. We cannot function in the Body of Christ effectively until we do. Our marriages and families will be in order when we agree with Paul’s prayer and that it is a foundation for our lives. We cannot effectively fight the fight of faith unless these things are part of our thinking.