Summary: Paul prays some specific prayer requests for these Christians... same for us.
PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS
We have seen Paul describe to the Ephesians blessing after blessing and promise after promise. Now, Paul reveals what sort of things he has been praying for. Paul does the same thing in his letters to the Philippians and Colossians. I think we can safely say that Paul was a man of prayer and that he prayed for those churches he ministered to on a daily basis.
ILLUSTRATION… Education is the key (p)
READ EPHESIANS 1:15-20
I. THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (v. 17)
Knowledge of God is one of those treasured things in life. I think that is why we cherish
the Bible as we do… it gives us knowledge of God. We have the opportunity to know about God and the eternal things He has promised. We have the opportunity to know God and understand His commands for our lives.
We can learn who God is by having a close personal relationship with Him. It is like any other relationship, there are levels of familiarity. An acquaintance you hardly know, and probably would not know but general information about you and your life. They are a person you see every so often or a person you talk to infrequently. A friend or a family member, however, has much more knowledge about you and your life. You talk to them frequently and share details about yourself with them.
I believe that Paul was praying that the Ephesians would have a close friendship with God. They would be able to do this through the Holy Spirit. We have already seen that the Holy Spirit has been given to those who belong to God (1:13-14) and this Spirit aids us in discovering who God is. It is an ongoing process that takes a lifetime. Today, we not only have the Holy Spirit, but we have the printed Word of God, older Christians, and a history of the church to describe our God to us.
II. THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT THEY ARE CALLED ( v. 18)
Preachers are not the only ones who are called! Paul continues his prayer for the
Ephesians and makes a very specific request to God. He wants each and every one of these Christians to see that they are “called.” I think he wants these Ephesians to realize that God knows the amount of hair on their head and the thought in their hearts. He wants their eyes opened to the truth that they are called. Called means God sees who they are and wants them close to Him. Called means He has a purpose for them. Called means they are one of the Family.
ILLUSTRATION… Pulpit Helps, Aug 1992
What we are called from and called to:
I. Called from labor to rest (Matt. 11:28)
II. Called from death to life (1 John 3:14)
III. Called from bondage to liberty (Gal 5:13)
IV. Called out of darkness into light (1 Pet. 2:9)
V. Called from bondage to peace (1 Cor. 7:15)
VI. Called to the fellowship of His Son (1 Cor. 1:9)
What we are made by obeying the call:
I. We are made sons of God (John 1:12)
II. We are made the children of God (Gal. 3:26)
III. We are made the servants of God (Matt. 25:21)
IV. We are made God’s saints (Col. 1:1)
V. We are made God’s witnesses (I Thess. 2:10)
VI. We are made workers together with God (2 Cor. 6:1)
VII. We are called to a high calling (Phil. 3:14)
VIII. We are called to a holy calling (2 Tim. 1:9)
IX. We are called to a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1)
Paul does not want these dear Christians to forget this very important fact of their spiritual lives: that they are called to do and to be so many things. God has called them. God called them to be part of His family and this is an invitation given by grace and is a free gift paid for by Jesus Christ.
The invitation has gone out to everyone. All people are invited to accept Jesus Christ as savior and to allow Him into their hearts. Not everyone accepts this gracious invitation. Those who do, are called by God to be His and to be part of His kingdom.
III. THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THE RICHES OF GOD’S INHERITANCE (v. 18)
ILLUSTRATION… Patrick Henry Quote
"I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed."