Summary: Paul begins with a prayer of Praise for their loyalty, faith and love, moving to a time of intercession for them to receive greater wisdom and revelation and ends on a note of thanksgiving for God's Power that is available through the Holy Spirit!
Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23
Title: The Power of Prayer
In this passage we see Paul praying for his readers. He begins with a prayer of Praise for their loyalty, faith and love, moving to a time of intercession for them to receive greater wisdom and revelation and ends on a note of thanksgiving for God's Power that has been revealed through Jesus our King and is available to us as Christ's Body.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world and from the Holy Spirit who brings New Life and seeks to restore us into the image of Jesus our King and Savior.
Is there any greater power on earth than the power of Prayer? How we answer that question will show how important prayer is for each one of us. Let me go ahead and give you the correct answer - Prayer is the greatest power on earth yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Prayer is the very means by which the LORD transforms us. Prayer is the deepest way we can show our love for the LORD and for one another. After all, what greater ministry, gift or service can we do for someone than to spend time with our LORD interceding for their salvation, their welfare and for them to be the recipient of God's blessings and favor ?
One of the greatest acts of love displayed in Old Testament is the sacrificial love that Queen Esther portrayed when she went in front of her husband the king of all Persia to plead for the salvation of her people, the Children of Israel. Esther puts her own life on the line to gain his audience to intercede for her people. The Bible tells us that Esther was led to take this action after spending three days and nights in prayer and fasting.
The Queen could have denied her heritage and save her own life while allowing the Children of Israel to be annihilated. She could have retreated to the safety of her palace. But her love for the LORD and her people was too great. She was willing to sacrifice her own future and personal safety for her people. Now, that's the power of prayer and love this morning.
We see a similar event occurring in the life of Moses. In Exodus 32 (32:30-33) and Dt. 9 (9:13-14) Moses is once again interceding for the Children of Israel after yet another time of great rebellion against the LORD. This time however there is a twist. The LORD promotes the idea of merely annihilating all the Children of Israel and starting a whole new people through the lineage of Moses. The Bible tells us that Moses stood in the gap for the Children of Israel interceding with the LORD to forgive His People and grant them mercy, grace and love.
Once again what an act of love and prayer. How would we respond if the LORD had given us that opportunity? The opportunity to begin all over again through our own family? To no longer be known as the Children of Abraham but to be known as the Children of Moses. That had to be quite a tempting offer. The Bible tells us that Moses' love for the Children of Israel was too great for such an act of selfishness. Instead, his love for them compelled him to intercessory prayer for their salvation.
Our passage this morning focuses on Paul's deep love for the Christians who lived around the area of Ephesus. It's a love that eight years earlier that had driven him to share the message of Jesus with them in the first place. It's a love that had compelled the Apostle to lay hands on them to receive the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. It's a love that had led the Apostle Paul to spend nearly three years teaching them and instructing in the ways of Jesus.
Now, some five years later the Apostle is sending them a letter. Because of his imprisonment, he is unable to come and teach them in person. So, he does the next best thing. He sends them a letter in hopes that what he includes in it will help them grow deeper in their life in Christ. He wants them to remember that salvation is by grace through faith alone and not through any human works or human striving. He wants to remind them what it means to live a life of Christ likeness. He wants to remind them how important it is for them to be unified in heart, mind and soul. He wants to remind them that together they can defeat the forces of evil. And he wants to remind them to help one another grow in love, patience, humility and gentleness.