Ephesians 1-15-23 Pauls Prayer (audio file for download)
So far in this letter we have seen two main elements, we have seen the introduction, and we have seen exaltation. In Paul’s introduction, he states who he is and who we are. In that section we looked at identity. Next he begins to exalt in God’s goodness, and lays out a very brief but packed statement glorifying God for who He is, while explaining to the Ephesians and to us what God has done for us. He now turns and shares what you might call his thesis statement. He lays out a little bit of the burden that he feels for the Ephesians. He tells them first off that he has heard of their faith and love. He states that he does not stop giving thanks to God for that. Then he lets them in on something, he tells them how he is praying for them. Now if you have been around Christians very long you will know that very often they may not want to say outright what they want for you, but it will come out in their prayers. Who knows what I am talking about? I have done it. Most often I have found that people wont interrupt you or argue with you while you are praying, so, that is when you can tell them what they need to hear.
Well, probably in a more holy, and pure way, Paul does a little of that here. He tells the Ephesians what he is praying for them. In essence, you might say that he is telling them his burden for them. You can surmise then, that what follows after this statement in this letter will most likely be to that end. You might say that what comes after in this letter falls under the wide category of what he is praying for them.
Before we go further, think for a moment, what is your primary prayer for yourself? Your Spouse? Your children, grand children, great-grandchildren? What are your prayers for your brother’s and sisters here at Emmaus? I believe that if we start praying this prayer for one another and for our community and God grants our prayers, this place will look different.
What are the main points of Paul’s prayer?
- He praises God for the work He is doing in them…
- He Asks for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, In the Knowledge of Him.
-It is an entirely different thing to know about Christ, than to know him. That takes power that you do not possess. It takes a work of the Holy Spirit for you to go from knowing about Him, to knowing Him as a friend. it is like the difference between knowing how to play a sport and actually playing the game. An even better example is this; You can read all kinds of facts and figures about the grand canyon, you can know how deep it is and how wide it is, and how long it is. You can study it for years, and know all kinds of stuff about it. But I will tell you one thing, you don’t have to know anything about it to be amazed by standing on the rim.
That is the kind of action that Paul is praying for these people. He is asking God to illuminate their knowledge, and make it real to them. he even says it in v. 18 “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” He is praying for that. That is the thrust of his request, but not the end of it. To what end?
- Do you see what comes after the phrase I just read? You se the word “that” there? any time you see the words “That, so that, because, therefore” you are being clued into the end result of whatever is being said. He says here that he is asking that God would illuminate their knowledge of him “SO THAT” “You may know the Hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of His power towards those who believe.
He is praying for our eyes to be illuminated so that we might know the hope to which we have been called. He is mentioning things that he is going to expound on later in this letter.
A. Hope to which we have been called: our salvation Chapter 2
B. Inheritance in the saints: the church 2:11-13, 4
C. Immeasurable greatness of His power: everywhere, but especially 6:10-11
So the main thrust of His prayer, and the prayer I pray for my kids, and for all of you is this: That you wouldn’t just know about him, that you would know Him. We will be getting into the other stuff that He talks about soon, but if you take anything away from today it is that you can know all about HIm, but do you really know him? I pray with Paul that God would open the eyes of our hearts, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in our knowledge of Him.