Summary: A study of Ephesians 1:15-21 can help us to understand how to pray for our brothers.
Introduction: How many times do we find that our prayers for the church donï¿½t go beyond: ï¿½Lord, Be with this churchï¿½? There are many times when we donï¿½t know the particular struggles of each of our brothers. How can we pray for them? We can learn some from studying Ephesians 1:15-21.
I. In my prayers:
1) Offer thanks for others. (vv.15-16) We should stop and give thanks for other Christians, lifting them up by name before our Fatherï¿½s throne. Specifically we should give thanks for their faith and their love for other Christians.
2) Pray that they receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. (v.17) And what is the goal of receiving this wisdom and revelation? Knowing God better. We donï¿½t seek knowledge for knowledgeï¿½s sake. We seek knowledge so that we may know God better.
3) Pray that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened. (v.18) Paul feels that there are important things that every Christian needs to know. Things that we need to hold in our heart.
II. What do we need to know?
1) We need to know God better. This is the purpose of wisdom.
a) Through his revealed word. We have an advantage over the early Christians in that we have Godï¿½s revealed word in its entirety. The Scriptures are much more than printed words. They are the living and active voice of God!
b) Through creation. As the Psalmist said, the heavens declare the glory of God. There is a saying in Argentina: ï¿½There are no atheists out in the country.ï¿½ Urban living can blind us to the realities of Godï¿½s hand in nature.
c) Through his working in our lives. We come to know God by experiencing him. As we see how he works in our lives, we come to know him better.
2) We need to know the hope to which we were called. (v. 18) Christianity is not a mere set of philosopies or of rules and regulations. It is a living hope that sustains the believer.
a) Our hope is not only for this world, but for the world to come. We must not lose sight of the fact that this world is a passing thing. Now matter what our lot on earth, we have the living hope of a home in glory, one that will more than compensate for any suffering here on earth.
b) (vs. 12) This hope is in Christ, not in ourselves. Paulï¿½s message is not one of ï¿½positive thinkingï¿½ or self-sufficiency. My hope comes because of what Jesus did, because of the fact that God loves me in spite of who I am and that my salvation rests on what he has done, not on what I have done. My hope is Christ-centered.
3) We need to know the riches of his inheritance in the saints. (v. 18) We need to see the worth of our salvation, the value of eternal life. We need to know that he has called us to an abundant life TODAY. What we receive as children of God is far greater than what the world has to offer.
4) We need to know his great power (like that that raised Jesus from the dead). (vv.19-21)
a) Power simlilar to that used in the resurrection. How much power did it take for God to raise Jesus from the dead? What kind of strength brought him forth from the tomb? Not just physical strength to roll away the stone, but spiritual strength to over come death and breathe life back into his physical body. What Paul is saying is that that incredible power is now at work in the believers.
b) That power works in us, in the church (Ephesians3:20-21). Godï¿½s incredible power, which goes so far beyond what the human mind can comprehend, that power works in us, the children of God.
Conclusion: As I pray for my brothers, I also pray these same things for myself, that I can come to appreciate what God has done, is doing and will do in my life. May God bless us as we grow in this understanding.