Based on: Ephesians 1: 16-23
Paul was so encouraged to hear of the Ephesians’ faith in Jesus and love for all God’s people. He records his prayers for these converts to faith in Christ. He wants God to reveal the truth that he had been standing on through all his hardships. He knew from experience that truth could keep them strong for the long haul.
Paul prayed for these believers. He thanked God for them and wanted them to know he prayed for them. In turn, they prayed for Paul. When our hearts are stirred at hearing of the faith of other believers, we should pray for them.
I believe we are stronger when we are praying faithfully for those God lays on our hearts. We have been so blessed by people who have made a special effort to let us know they are praying for us. We are not alone! Knowing they are praying for us, stirs our faith to grow and reach out to others.
Paul’s requests of God
Wisdom and revelation. The reason Paul wanted God to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation was so that they may know Him better. God doesn’t give us wisdom and revelation because we are more spiritual than others. Wisdom and revelation are not a reward for good behavior. We cannot boast of wisdom and revelation. The purpose of wisdom and revelation is so that we might know God better. If we know Him better, we can pray more effectively. If we know Him better, we won’t be so afraid of the world’s dark messages. If we know Him better, we will want to be more like Him and please Him.
Hope. Our world can confuse us or make us fearful or depressed. Paul prayed that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened to know the hope to which God had called them. God’s calling for us is one lit with hope.
We watched a special on the artist Johannes Vermeer. They demonstrated how everything in his paintings had a purpose. All the lines pointed to the reason for the painting. My eyes had been drawn to the spot they mentioned, but I had not seen it as pointing out his message. My eyes had to be opened to see it. Paul was praying that they would see God’s calling for them lit with hope.
Paul wanted God to remind them of the glorious inheritance he has for those who believe him. This inheritance is for us and for all who have believed him in the past and will believe in him in the future, his saints. He is our ultimate inheritance. All He has done for us and is doing in us will be fulfilled in heaven. There will be no more lack or needs. We have riches in his glorious inheritance.
But since Paul knew our penchant for disqualifying ourselves, he added power to his prayer for us.
Most of us when we hear ourselves referred to as saints, inwardly shake our heads and say, “Not me.” We know too well our own failings and frailty. Paul asks God to help us see what power is even now, working in us. It is the same strength that raised Christ from the dead and seated him beside the Father in heaven. If his power could do that, it can help us change into God’s likeness. This happens little at a time, but steadily as we spend time with God.
What can we do with all this?
It is so far out of our normal way of looking at our lives. Our world crowds in and floods us with messages of hopelessness and appeals to our vanity. Many of us don’t like what we see in ourselves as we’ve been cooped up with ourselves and our families for a couple months.
It all sounds so completely out of our world! It is!
He wants God to give us the ability to know him better. As we know him better, we get to know what pleases him and what changes he wants in our lives. As we know him better, we trust him with our secrets and with our doubts and fears. We begin to see his tender care to provide not just what we need, but what he knows will please us. He wants us to know him as a good father.
Paul wants us to be able to see above and beyond our individual lives and our current situation. God knows what is coming. We don’t. Since he knows the future, he wants us to have hope based in his character, his promises, and his past care for us. When the world totally turns upside down, he wants us to know we have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. With that insurance, we can walk through this tiny bit of eternity with him.