Summary: Introduction: “Purpose” seems to be the buzz word today, wouldn’t you say? This text is the first of two prayers in the letter.
Introduction: “Purpose” seems to be the buzz word today, wouldn’t you say? This text is the first of two prayers in the letter. Its very position drives home its purpose. “For this reason” could look back to God’s blessings (1:3-14), or it could look forward to the news Paul had received about the Ephesians faith and love (1:15). Either way there’s a message for us in this passage. Note a couple of things.
I. Paul’s Relationship with the People (v.15-16)
Take a look at their unity. They were:
A. United by Faith (15): This was saving faith (v.13-14) that brought them together.
B. United in Love (15): Their faith produced a love that bonded them together.
C. United through Prayer (16): Here is persistent prayer. Paul teaches us that we should remember and pray for our brothers and sisters “in Christ” (v.13).
II. Paul’s Request for the People (v.17-23)
Paul had a purpose for his prayer. He made three requests.
A. An Exalted Mind (v.17): Paul wanted them to know and experience God on a deeper and more intimate level. The “Spirit of wisdom” is a reference to the Holy Spirit’s work within, enabling one to receive and understand divine truth and make practical application. We cannot understand divine truth apart from the work of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:10-16). The word “revelation” indicates that we don’t discover truth, but that it is revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. What Paul is really praying is that God will reveal to them what they already have.
B. An Enlightened Heart (v.18): Paul wanted them to know the hope to which they had been called. He prayed that God would reveal His purpose to their innermost being. “Hope” here is assurance that enables one to enjoy the abundant life. See the words “glorious inheritance”? That means that we receive all His blessings and that God inherits us as His possession.
C. An Energized Life (v.19-23): The “Energizer Bunny” doesn’t have a thing on you. This request is all about power. He wanted them to experience God’s power. In verse 19 he defines that power. In verses 20-23 he describes the power.
What can we say about this power? Paul uses four of the most expressive Greek words available to him. “Power” (dunameos) means dynamic, dynamite or potential. “Working” (energeia) refers to activity or power in motion. It is effective power. “Mighty” (ischus) indicates muscular force. “Strength” (kratos) reveals a supreme, superior or sovereign power.
Look closer and you will discover that this is resurrection power (v.20). The same power that raised a dead Savior can raise a dead sinner! (Eph. 2:1). Go back and study Ezk. 37 – The Valley of Dry Bones. Only God could have done that. You will also see that this is reigning power (v.21-22), and ruling power (v.22-23). The church exists and functions only by reason of her relationship to the head – Jesus Christ. This power is closet-based and Calvary centered!
Conclusion: Paul’s prayer was that they would know God better, enjoy life more and experience a transcendent power. Now that’s a purpose driven prayer!