Summary: 11th in the series dealing with Paul's prayer that God enlighten the Epheisians concerning the blessing that has been accomplished for them.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
1. Specially Chosen 1:4
2. Purposefully Adopted 1:5-6
3. Freely Redeemed and Forgiven 1:7-8a
4. Spiritually Enlightened 1:8b-10
5. Surely Deemed God’s Inheritance 1:11-12
6. Securely Sealed 1:13-14
B. Paul prayed for their enlightenment 1:15-23
Paul spent considerable time in prayer. The Bible records more of Paul’s prayer life than that of Jesus. Much can be learned by studying Paul’s prayers. Here is one of two powerful prayers in Ephesians. Just as 3-14 are one sentence, so 15-23 are one sentence.
1. Motivation: He prayed when he heard of their faith and love 1:15
There are actually two possible motivations for Paul to invest significant time to prayer for the Ephesians. First we key in on “for this reason”. Either the phrase refers to something he will immediately cite as a reason for the prayer or it touches on something he mentioned earlier.
If he refers to what he has just previously been talking about, he prays because he wants them to more deeply understand the wonder of the blessings his just detailed. If he looks ahead, he prays because of this gratitude for the manifestation of genuine life change among them.
having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints 1:15
Paul was thankful for the report of the Ephesians walk. That is perhaps the whole purpose of writing the letter. Yes, there were issues i.e. lying, stealing, anger, negative talk, relational breakdowns. But Paul chose to focus on the positive. Paul practiced his own definition of love in 1 Cor 13 (look for the best minimize the worst). He was impressed with their daily faith and trust in the Lord. Their daily trust in Jesus had become obvious not only to Paul but to others as well (“I too”). He not only acknowledged their daily trust in Jesus but their love for each other. The love of Jesus was not just shown to select people but to “all the saints”.
“Saint” is a common and favorite name Paul uses to describe genuine followers of Jesus.
It refers to those who are “holy ones, specially set apart for relationship”.
2. Attitude: He prayed with thanks giving 1:16
Thoughts about the Ephesians inspired thanksgiving to God. Thanksgiving is frequently coupled with prayer in the Bible. Paul’s thanksgiving was coupled with his petitions for the Ephesians. I like this portrayal of prayer – “making mention”. Prayer for others is making mention, talking to God about others. Satan gets nervous when we talk to men about God but even more nervous when we talk to God about men.
3. Frequency: He prayed continually 1:16
Not only did those thoughts inspire thanksgiving but continual thanksgiving.
“do not cease giving thanks”
The verb tenses plus the words indicate a continual practice. This is not the only place Paul refers to the frequency his prayer. Rom 1:9; Phil 1:3-4; Col 1:3; 1 Thes 1:2;
Scripture calls all Christians to a regular prayer life.
"Pray without ceasing" 1 Thes 5:17
"Be devoted to prayer" Rom 12:12
"Pray at all times in the spirit with all perseverance for all the saints" Eph 6:18
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Col 4:2
Also Luke 18:1; 1 Pet 4:7
4. Request: God would give a deeper knowledge of Himself 1:17
Paul offered a specific request with several parts. The core of his request is that the people would come to a deeper knowledge of God.
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:17
The “making mention” had to do with a request for fuller knowledge of God. He asked God to give them a “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” He earlier acknowledged the blessing of wisdom and knowledge offered by God. Here he asks for a full assimilation of that knowledge. Even though this word used here is the same word used for Holy Spirit, I don’t think he is asking that. They already had the Holy Spirit. He is asking for a general breeze or wind of wisdom (applied knowledge) and revelation (increased knowledge).
It has the meaning of “a disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of anyone.”
We sometimes use the word “spirit” in this general sense. We mean a demeanor or temperament that affects how we live our life. Spirit of arrogance, graceful spirit, gentle spirit, youthful spirit. It is a reference to one’s nature. He is asking for greater understanding concerning God’s person, purpose and presence.