Summary: When you really get down to business with God, what are the things which rise to the surface as you petition Him to meet your needs?
Ephesians: Our Identity In Christ~Part 12
Prayer to Power
14. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15. from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16. that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18. may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19. and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
20. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21. to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
What are the most pressing issues in your life? What are the things for which you pray? When you really get down to business with God, what are the things which rise to the surface as you petition Him to meet your needs? These are the things that are important to us.
If we could have the apostle Paul stand among us today and share with us those things which he would think are vital for us to pray to have, he might very well pray the same prayer he prayed in our passage today. What we see here is a prayer which comes from Paul's heart. It is a prayer for believers. It is a prayer which touches on things essential for the Christian life.
This is the second of two prayers in the first three chapters of Ephesians. The first is found in Ephesians 1:15-23. In that first prayer, Paul prays that we might come to know God's power. In this second prayer, Paul prays that we might use that power. We not only need to know God's power, we need to use it. It is possible to know a great deal about cars --- to know how all of the mechanical parts interact, to know about the electrical system, to know about the transmission, engine, suspension, and the like --- and never use the car to go anywhere. On the other hand, it is entirely possible to know almost nothing about how a car is engineered, and to use it every day to travel thousands of miles. We must use what we know, or what we know does no good. The same is true spiritually. It is possible to know a great deal about the truths of God contained in the Bible, and yet never live by those truths. So the focus of this second prayer is on how to know and live by the power of God.
This is the challenge for us as believers. If the need of knowing what we need to know and living by what we know is met, then we will be able to experience a sense of the power and presence of God.
Let's look at the petitions for us and the power within us.
The Petitions for Us
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (3:14-19)
Christians should not have to be reminded of the power of prayer. By prayer we touch the throne of God. God has ordained that through prayer we should set His hand in motion. He has chosen to respond to our prayers by unleashing His divine activity in our midst. The believer has no higher calling than to pray. In fact, we never stand so tall as when we bow in prayer.
Prayer is powerful. Paul knew that. That is why he prayed. Multitudes have come to understand the power of prayer through the centuries. Martin Luther, the great reformer of the church, had a good friend and assistant, Friedrich Myconius. In 1540, Myconius became sick and was expected to die shortly. On his deathbed he wrote a farewell letter to Luther in tender terms. Luther read the message and immediately sent a reply: “I command you in the name of God to live because I still have need of you in the work of reforming the church . . . . the Lord will never let me hear that you are dead, but will permit you to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God.” While those words may seem more than a little brash, perhaps even arrogant, Myconius, who had already lost the ability to speak when Luther's reply came, soon recovered. Myconius lived six more years and finally died two months after Luther.