We have reached the concluding verses of Ephesians Chapter 3 – and these verses on prayer are so rich.
Many have said over the years – “Listen to other people praying – you will learn much about them – and maybe something from them! You will learn what is on their hearts – something of their concerns – and what they may not be concerned about. You may learn where they are in Christ. We all pray about those things that really matter to us.”
Might praying not influence people where preaching and witnessing doesn’t?
Many will not listen to our testimony – to what we have experienced – to what we know and know to be real and true – but very few people will stop you praying – and praying for them.
I kneel before the Father – here is body language – there is something special about being on your knees – about bowing too. Yes – there are other ways to pray.
Abraham stood praying for Sodom. (Genesis 18 verse 22)
Solomon stood at the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8 verse 22)
King David SAT before the Lord (1 Chronicles 17 verse 16)
Jesus fell on His face in Gethsemane (Matthew 26 verse 29)
Have you noticed too how comparatively brief Biblical prayers are?
Moses great prayer for Israel was three verses. Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel was one verse. Nehemiah’s great prayer is seven verses.
The Lord’s Prayer in John 17 can be read slowly in 3 or 4 minutes.
Of course, this is what we have in public – in private, the time spent in prayer would have been much longer – but we do not need to express long prayers in public.
Paul could fellowship with the Father and experience the riches and mysteries and treasures resulting from praying before the Father.
Verse 16 - Paul prays that out of His Glorious Riches HE may strengthen you. We need to be strengthened. He prays for these people – that the Gospel might impact their life in a real rich amazing way.
Paul wants these believers to receive – to get their spiritual hands on – the wealth that is theirs in Christ. We are in Paul’s gloriously long sentences here. Realise what is yours – and begin to use it.
He prays that you may be rich in your inner being – the Conscience – the Will – the Mind – the Heart. He looks for the Gospel of Grace to encourage us to bow down low. I bow my knees.
Paul is responding to his Master and His King. This is more than simply becoming a Christian – and being forgiven – and going on with life as if that is that!
Paul has been melted by the Gospel.
The original fatherhood was God’s Fatherhood – He is the original Father.
He is able to bow because of what Jesus Christ has done for him – rescuing him – saving him – anointing him – using him – and he bows – he doesn’t shuffle in when coming to pray – there is a reverence here.
He wants us to have a Clear Conscience – a strong will to resist temptation – and a convinced mind which cannot be corrupted – and a loving heart.
When these are your inner riches – then you can face the various onslaughts which confront us from outside – comments and criticisms – battle, struggles and attacks – tribulations, persecutions and even imprisonments. Easy to preach, isn’t it – but not quite so easy when these may be our daily on-going experiences.
Verses 17,18 – I pray that you have power – many like that phrase – but Paul places a qualification upon the Power of God in the life of the believer – “being rooted and established in love”.
This is the only place in the New Testament where Christ and hearts are brought together in the one sentence – this is more than ‘receive Jesus into your hearts’.
And – does this not make you want to bow?
The Power will not simply be in the individual’s life – but it will be a corporate experience – that the Power of God may be experienced in the church – in the fellowship of believers.
It is the glorious riches of Christ that strengthens us – by the Holy Spirit.
This is not something these disciples would experience on their own – it would be experienced in the fellowship of believers – it would depend upon the relationships with one another.
Now – this is not just Paul’s Prayer – it becomes God’s truth – and that is why we have it in the Word of God.
We are being reminded of the vital place of the family of God – know your place in the family of God – and be in that place.
When members of the family of God are not present it affects others.
Paul is not finished – look at 17,18 – he is almost running out of language.
ROOTED – a tree requires to have its roots in the soil if it is going to have NOURISHMENT and STABILITY.
Paul is praying that their lives be rooted in the love of God – nourished by the love of Jesus – and producing stability.
ESTABLISHED or grounded – is an architectural term – referring to solid foundations. These are essential if we are going to have stability.
We almost have to work on these areas – because without being with all the others we will never grasp the significance of the Love of God.
Paul is almost lost for words here – and so are we at times – and that is why God provides for this need – to express in another tongue what our mind cannot express. I pray that you may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. You would almost think he was exaggerating – but NO.
You can never get your arms around the love of Jesus – it is far too large – immense – mighty – gracious – there is always more!
This is not a lesson we learn easily – that is why it is something we have to grasp. We have to reach out for this knowledge – we have to keep holding onto this knowledge so that it does not slip from our hands – or that the enemy does not snatch it out of our hands.
This alone could heal the divisions of centuries – and bring about the unity for which Jesus Christ prayed – but we do have to remember to whom the letter is written – and how they came into the Church of Jesus Christ.
“The inner man” – let the strong personality of Jesus Christ take over – and I pray that you know this love which surpasses knowledge. Now, that may cause those who cannot see to stumble. How can we know something which is beyond knowledge? That comes through spiritual experience.
Is it not like a baby in a father’s arms? The babe does not know that it is safe and secure – but it is safe and secure.
No man can teach everything about spiritual security and the love of God – but you can experience it – and that is what I am praying for you in Ephesus –
Verse 19 – that you may be filled with the fullness of God. That is beyond words – it is beyond explanation. But what we do see is this – God wants to pour into you – to pack into you – His life – His love – His power – His goodness – so that you will be filled with all the fullness you can receive.
It is what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross – and then what He has done in us through the Holy Spirit – and is doing in us through the Holy Spirit.
Verses 20,21 – At this point Paul pours out his heart in praise to God.
He is able to do immeasurably more that we ask or imagine.
You can ask a lot – you can imagine a lot. You can have a vision for your life and ministry – and HE can do even more – more that we can measure.
We can ask – we can pray – HE is able to do even more. Paul seems to want to us every available word to convey something of the vastness of God’s Love and Power.
“Glory in the church” – for people to see and be aware that there is something very different when you look at these people.
Paul has no management consultant team. We are called here to bring dramatically big requests to God. Our role is to give Him all the glory – at all times – throughout all generation – even for ever and ever. Now – that is a long time. You can be tempted to touch the glory.
“To God be the glory great things he has done.”
Sharing your testimony can be a highly dangerous moment – see what I have done – see what has happened to me – it is all so subtle.
We hear blasphemies today – OMG – ‘mother nature’ who does not exist – the ‘golf gods’ in BBC weather forecasts.
Paul is praying about the spiritual condition of the inner man – not the material needs of his body. He is praying for that which has become alive in Christ – that which was dead in trespasses and sins.
Now wonder Paul bowed his knees – any man would do that – unless he was too hard to kneel – too rebellious to come humbly before the living loving saving God.
“Almighty Father – Tender and loving Father – I bow before You – in worship – and with thanksgiving. Thank You for this letter – thank You for the Bible – thank You for preserving and protecting Your Holy Word down through the centuries when men have attempted to destroy it. Thank You for Your infallible Word – thank You for Jesus Christ our loving Saviour and Lord. Amen”
'Word from Scotland' Copyright 2020 © Sandy Shaw. 'Word from Scotland' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to https://www.liveasif.org/ 2) 'Word from Scotland' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.