If a great apostle prayed for you, what would you want to be prayed for? Today, we explore Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 – another piece of the plan of God revealed.
What did Paul pray?
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
- that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
- so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
- that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
- may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
- and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
- that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB)
Strengthened and Empowered in the Inner Man
As the Amplified Bible puts it, we are reinforced with mighty power by the Holy Spirit indwelling our innermost being and personality.
I love that that last word is added. He’s not only indwelling your innermost being, but also your personality. He’s not working on any of your negatives because He already killed that on the cross. He’s working on everything that He says that you are. You are becoming someone. You’re becoming Christ – you are being conformed, by sharing the same inner essence, to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). You’re being developed into Him and that’s what He’s focused on.
May Christ make His Permanent Home in Your Hearts
Well, didn’t that happen at the moment of salvation? Why would Paul pray this for people who are already Christians? Yes, the Holy Spirit does come to indwell every believer at the time of salvation. But this has the idea of Christ making his “permanent home” in our hearts – the center of our being, where desires and decisions have formed that influence who we really are. Is Jesus at your core, or are you still running the show? You can intellectually know all about Christ but have no love and no encounter with Him. We have to love Him and open our hearts to Him. Then, when He dominates the center of your being, controlling your desires and decisions – then you become rooted and grounded in love. He who loves…knows God…for God is love. (I John 4:7)
Knowing (through Experience) the Love of Christ
When Jesus makes His permanent home in your heart, then you have intimacy with Him, an encounter with Him, first-hand acquaintance with Him. When you are rooted and grounded in love, when you become a vessel of love, then you can begin to experience His love. And through that encounter of fully experiencing His amazing, endless love, you are empowered to comprehend the incomprehensible – to know the unknowable. You’re able to know because you’ve experienced HIM, the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ.
Filled with all the fullness of God
You’re supposed to be filled, through all your being, unto all the fullness of God. Guess what? You are filled unto all the fullness of God. And continually being filled! It’s God’s plan that you have the richest measure of the divine Presence” (there’s that capital “P” again!) and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself – with His power and His attributes.
And then, Paul prays us in.
To Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think
He is able to carry out His plan – He’s able to do superabundantly, far beyond anything we even consider praying for, infinitely higher than our desires or hopes or our highest prayers.
How does He do above and beyond? Through His power working in us!
When Christ dwells in our hearts, when His Spirit is at work strengthening our inner man, when we are filled with all the fullness of God – then we are filled with all His power and attributes. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will do all the works He did, and even greater works (John 14:12). How? Through the power of His Spirit working through us!
That’s the Father’s plan for the bride of Christ – for us individually, each one of us, and corporately as the church.
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