The next section of Ephesians Chapter 3, verses 14-21, is a prayer Paul wrote to them. Today we are focusing on verses 14-19 and I have chosen the New Living Translation for ease in understanding. His prayer is an excellent model of what to pray for fellow believers. As you read, listen for Paul’s heartfelt desires for them and their relationship with God.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources with he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Paul makes it clear from the beginning that he is praying to the living God who created heaven and earth, remember they were surrounded by a very pagan society that worshiped man made idols. Paul knows God is omnipotent and the source of a believer’s strength. He wants them to grow and develop in faith. He wants them to realize who God is and the power of His love for them. Paul feels if they come to know the God of all power and love, they will have lives that are filled and transformed. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we have the privilege and obligation to intercede on behalf of other believers.
What about you? What do you pray for your fellow believers? Do you pray for their growth and knowledge of God, and that they will experience the fullness of His love? If you’ve never prayed like that- give it a try. Choose a friend and pray for their growth in faith, their knowledge of God to increase as they study His Word, their prayer life to expand, that they would experience and understand the depth of God’s love for them….. God desires that we lift one another up in prayer. James 5:16b ” The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Seek to be a clean vessel through your own confession of sins, then pray earnestly on behalf of other believers. Remember Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
Today’s passage in Ephesians 3:7-11 gives us a glimpse into the true heart of Paul and his motivating character. Let these words soften your heart towards the hard working saint as you picture his struggle for Christ.
“By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Paul realizes that God chose him specifically on the Road to Damascus (see Acts 9). Through His might and power, he was transformed into one who professed and proclaimed the name and fame of Jesus instead of persecuting Him.
8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. Paul humbly professes that he feels unworthy of God’s grace and mercy and relishes the privilege of revealing God’s plan of redemption through Christ for all mankind.
10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul sees that God intends that all believers are shown God’s wisdom and eternal plan through the knowledge and work of Christ. Then all believers, the church, will share that wisdom and knowledge with others.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are privileged to show God’s love and the good news of Jesus to the world. Just like Paul, we will be humbled by the magnitude of this privilege when we realize we are God’s chosen messengers to the world. It is an amazing responsibility. Paul counted himself favored to be chosen by God to tell others.
What about you? Do you consider it a privilege to tell others about Jesus? Are you humbled by the fact that God chose you? Take a moment today and thank God for choosing you and empowering you with His Holy Spirit so you are able to do all He calls you to do.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a friend in Jesus. I love the old hymn, “What a friend I have in Jesus”. The lyrics speak of our friend Jesus bearing all our sins and griefs and our privileged of taking our problems to Him in prayer. Jesus called us His friends in John 15:14-15 “ You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Being called a friend of Jesus means we follow His Word and walk beside Him in our daily life. He is right there to help us when we stumble, give a word of comfort or be our companion. By following His pathway we are no longer just like a hired servant or one who receives orders but a friend to be confided in, helped and taught. He also promises to reveal what He knows about God the Father to us. A few verses later in John 15:18 Jesus warns us that being called His friend will put us in a position to be hated by others. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” He also speaks of this in Matthew 10:22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” I love the promise Jesus gives at the end of the Matthew verse. Standing with Jesus and enduring the derision and persecution that the unbelieving world places upon us because we proclaim Him, will bring a great reward.
Where do you need Jesus to be your friend today? Reach out to Him in prayer and let Him know of your thoughts, hopes and struggles. Read His Word with confidence and hope as if expecting a word from a friend, the Bible is God’s love letter to us.
Suggestion: Spend some time with your friend Jesus today. Go for a prayer praise walk with Jesus. Talk with Him as you walk along and praise Him for His provision and the glory you see along the way. Can’t get out? Just gaze out a window and spend time journeying with Jesus in prayer.
Here is a country version of the old hymn- What a friend we have in Jesus.