PRAYING FOR OURSELVES AND FOR OTHERS. (In these verses we can learn HOW to pray; WHAT to pray; WHY we can pray with confidence).
A). HOW PAUL PRAYED
1.) With Thanksgiving. Ephesians 1:15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints. (“Saints = hoi hagioi- the separated ones, believers). “Love” is agapē, used for God’s love for us and of His love shed abroad through us Romans 5:5.
2). Regularly And Consistently. Ephesians 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Compare 1Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing). It means a habitual attitude of lifting people to God in believing prayer.
B). WHAT WE CAN PRAY FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS
1). For People To Come Into A Deeper And More Intimate Knowledge Of God . Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation so that you may know him better). (There is only one thing better than knowing God. That is, knowing Him better! )
2). For People To Have Their Spiritual Understanding Deepened. Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, (phōtizō = to reveal, illuminate, make known) Spiritual enlightenment.
3). For People To Know These 3 Vital Aspects Of The Christian Life. …that you may know
i). what is the hope to which he has called you. (The certainty about the future knowing that God will fulfil all His promises. Salvation. Acceptance for ever. His Second coming. Eternal glory with Him).
ii). what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (In His unsearchable riches in Christ.)
iii). what is the immeasurable (huperballon) greatness (megethes) of his power (dunamis) toward us who believe. (“Huperballon” also found only in the following, in [ 2Corinthians 3:10 surpassing glory], [2Corinthians 9:14 surpassing grace], [Ephesians 2:7 surpassing riches], [Ephesians 3:19 love of Christ surpasses knowledge]. Unlike “hyperbole” in English which comes from this word, there is no exaggeration. His power cannot be measured, nor surpassed, nor ever exaggerated.)
C). WHY WE CAN PRAY WITH CONFIDENCE FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS
God Is And Always Will Be All-Powerful. according to the working (energeia) of his great (kratos) might (ischuos). Paul uses 3 of the great New Testament power words in this one verse.
His power was and is seen in the following:-
i). In The Resurrection Of Jesus. Eph 1:20 that he worked (energeo) in Christ when he raised (egeiro)him from the dead. (Jesus is Victor over sin, sickness, death and over the powers of darkness.)
ii). In Seating Jesus In The Heavenlies. and seated (kathizo)him at his right hand in the heavenly places, (In the place of honour, acceptance and authority). (Believers are there with Him too, Eph 2:6)
iii). In Establishing Him As Lord Of Everything In This Universe. Eph 1:21 far above all rule (arche) and authority (exousia) and power (dunamis) and dominion (kuriotētos), and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Paul’s point is that no matter what type of power one could imagine, God’s power is so much greater). He IS LORD and MASTER.
iv). In Putting Everything Under His Ultimate Control. Eph 1:22 And he put (hupotasso) all things under his feet. (Conquering kings often placed their feet on the necks of their enemies to show publicly their victory over them.) Jesus has ultimate control over every power in the universe.
v). In Giving Him To The Church As Lord. and gave him as head over all things to the church. (He is the head of His body the church as part of having authority over everything in the universe).
vi). In Making It Possible For His People To Be Filled With His Fulness. Eph 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Fulness = plērōma. ( Other verses using this same word, which speak of the fulness associated with God, are John1:16 And from his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace. Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
(The verb plēroō to fill is used in Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit). It is also used in Colossians 2:10 and in Christ you have been brought to fulness (literally, have been filled in Him.) The question to be answered is whether we can receive more of Him or whether we can offer Him more of us to be filled with His presence.)
SOME SUGGESTED QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
1). From verse 16. How can we improve our prayer lives to make them more like St Paul’s?
2). From verse 17. What is the difference between knowing more about Jesus and knowing Him more deeply? How can we allow the facts about Jesus in His word to bring about a deeper personal trust and confidence in Him?
3). From verse 18. What is the difference in the way we use the word “hope” in these sentences? “I have the hope of being with God in heaven”. AND “I hope the weather is fine tomorrow?” Why is it important to know the difference?
4). From verses 19-22. Some Christians have had a discomfort about the use of the word “power” in such terms as “Power Evangelism” and “Power Healing”. Should they be ill at ease about these terms? If not, why not?
5). From verse 23 and from Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. If God wants to fill us with His fullness, what is our part in that process?