Paul’s Powerful Prayer
What comes to mind when you hear the word Christian? Write down your first thoughts and journal about why those words came to mind.
Today, after reading part of Ephesians 3, a word that comes to mind regarding Christianity is exciting. Being a true Christian in communion with God and His people is the most exciting thing we can be a part of! Why is that? Let’s take a look at Ephesians 3:16 in context to find out.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
In writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul gives encouragement in the form of this prayer for spiritual strength. There’s a lot here – go over it slowly. What do you notice about the way Paul talks about God? What does he ask for the Ephesians? What do you think is the underlying purpose of his words here?
Let’s look at the phrases in this verse particularly: “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…”
riches of His glory
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (ESV). God has chosen to give to us infinitely in His limitless power, not even stopping short of sacrificing His own son for us. The riches of God’s glory are far vaster than we could ever ask or understand.
He may grant you
Grace is given to us as a free gift, unearned and undeserved. There is nothing we could do to warrant even the smallest fraction of God’s glorious riches or favor. But the scandal of the Gospel is that He gives freely to us from his wealth of love and mercy!
strengthened with power
Jesus says in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (ESV). When we abide in Christ by talking to Him, meditating on His goodness, thanking Him for what He has done, and studying His character, our souls receive His divine fortification which is stronger than anything in the world that could harm us. Christians abiding in Christ are superheroes – not in our own strength but because the power of God lives in us.
through His spirit
The Holy Spirit indwells Christians abiding in Christ. That means it’s not us fighting spiritual and physical battles but God Himself. This is great news because it means we don’t have to perform or meet some standard to be a “good person.” When we submit our lives and desires to Christ He works through us in ways we can only marvel at.
in your inner being
When we struggle with identity, we wonder who we are deep deep down, in the innermost part of our soul, and whether that person is worthy of love or not. When Christ strengthens us with power through His spirit in our inner beings, it means he makes our very hearts purer and cleaner and more beautiful every day. This is what sanctification is – He makes us more like Him.
So why is Christianity exciting? As Christians, we realize that the Holy and Mighty God of the Universe has chosen to open access to Himself and even enter into our very beings, making us holy and beautiful just like Him! In His infinite power and might, He gives us Himself, strengthens us to fight the evils and temptations in our day, indwells our hearts and minds, sees all of who we are, and mercifully loves us to the very core. What a reason to be hopeful! There is good in the world and He is working through us.
Meditate on these phrases by thanking God for the ways He works through each one. Think about the ways He strengthens you in your daily life. Ask Him to show you more ways that He strengthens you each day. Pray Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength over your family, friends, and self.