“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers . . .”
Prayer is the place where we express our greatest desires. It is at the Throne of Grace our hearts pour out their deepest cries to God. Paul spoke to the Romans about those times when our hearts cry is so great, it is manifested with “groaning’s that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Here we find the Apostle crying out in prayer for the saints and we learn what his greatest desires are for the Christian. His prayer consists of four requests.
“May God give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him . . .”
Jesus defined eternal life as “knowing God”. It is when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that we begin a relationship with God. Paul’s plea is for us to know Him better. The knowledge that He is speaking of is not the knowledge of information, but of relationship. He wasn’t praying for us to simply know more facts about God, but that we would experience more of God. This is something that will happen as, daily, we spend time with God, in the pages of His Word, and apply the things we read to our daily living.
“That you may know what is the hope of His calling . . .”
Next Paul prayed that having begun to know God better, we would get to know His calling on our lives. Discovering the will of God for our lives is a daily adventure, but can be guided by understanding some general principles about the call of God. According to Scripture, we have been called out of the world. That does not mean that as Christians we are to isolate ourselves from anyone who is not a believer, but we are to separate ourselves from the behaviors we practiced before coming to Christ. We have also been called to holiness. Holiness could be defined as living in a way that is well pleasing to the Lord. As a Christian, our first goal with every decision we make, or activity we are involved in, should be to please God. We have also been called to service. As a Christian, we are part of the growing Kingdom of God, and should be actively participating in seeking to win others to Christ.
“What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints . . .”
The word inheritance speaks of something that is received. When a person dies, they often leave a will which distributes their goods as they wish. Because of the death of Jesus, all who trust in Him for salvation receive eternal life as an inheritance. It is a free gift given in response to simple faith. That being said, notice Paul is not praying regarding our inheritance but His. What is the inheritance Jesus received as a result of going to the cross? Simply put, His inheritance is you. Hebrews 12 tells us it was the joy of receiving you as an inheritance that motivated Him to endure the suffering and shame of the cross. Think about that. Jesus considers us to be a rich and glorious inheritance, worthy of all the suffering He was forced to endure at Calvary. One of the most important things we must settle, if we are going to follow Jesus, is that He loves us and wants to do great things in and through us.
“What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe . . .”
Finally, Paul prays regarding the exceeding, great power of God. This power is more than sufficient for any obstacle in its way. That is not true of my power. There are many things I cannot lift, push, climb over, under or around, but the power of God is more than able. Perhaps the most encouraging thing Paul says about the power of God is that it is “toward us.” In other words, when we decide to follow Jesus, the exceeding, great power of God is now on our side, enabling us to walk with Him and serve Him. There are so many obstacles that seem to impede our walk with God. We face the difficulties of our own flesh, as well as the fears connected with any task into which He leads us. We can be encouraged by the fact that whatever He calls us to, He has the power to accomplish. As always, we cannot focus on our weaknesses, but must fix our eyes upon His strength.
Let’s pray these same things for ourselves and for one another.
Questions for Ephesians 1
Why does Paul say he is an apostle by the will of God?
Verse 7, how do we get the redemption through Christ’s blood, and redemption of sins?
Paul uses this word “predestined” a lot, what does it mean to be predestined in the adoption of Christ?
From verse 15 to the end, Paul prays for the people. What are some of the things that you should be praying for? Take time to pray for those things now