And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ
Ephesians 3:17b-18a (NIV)
Read: Ephesians 3:14-21
Consider: You may wonder why the Apostle Paul included what is essentially a prayer in the middle of his letter to the Ephesians. Bearing in mind that letters of this nature were designed to be read when the believers met, he may have held the view that the Ephesians had been listening to some quite heavy theology for a lengthly period of time and needed to be refreshed. Whatever his reason, this is first and foremost Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers and was meant to encourage and challenge the body of believers (the church) to grow in their understanding of and confidence in their faith. Of course the body of Christ (the church) is made of individuals and a positive change in each believer’s maturity, would mean the church corporate would also change positively.
We can apply what we learn from today’s passage to our individual lives, but also to the churches and denominations to which we belong. Firstly, we can learn what our attitude should be when we come before God in prayer. Paul says: ‘… I kneel before the Father …’ (Ephesians 3:14). Our prayer life should be one of humility and submission. If we come before God with our ‘shopping list’ of requests, we can be disappointed when we do not receive favourable answers to our prayers. God may not give us what we want, but he will always give us what we need.
So what does Paul pray for when bringing the Ephesian believers before God? Firstly, that ‘… he [God] my strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being …’ (3:16). Secondly, that ‘… Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’ (3:17a). Thirdly, that they: ‘… may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ …’ (3:17b). Fourthly, that they might: ‘… know this love that surpasses knowledge …’ (3:19a). Fifthly, that they: ‘… may be filled to the measure of the fulness of God’ (3:19b).
Can you imagine what your spiritual life would be like if all of these things were apparent in your life? Not just apparent but ‘… filled to the measure of the fulness of God …’ (3:19b). What about your church or denomination? When was the last time you prayed for your church, its leaders and its members? Do you neglect to pray for your denomination, asking God to re-enliven it through a renewing of its commitment to God and the authority of the Bible. What not start today? Ask God to reignite the fire in your heart and in the hearts of the leaders and members of your church, as well as in the denomination to which you belong (if any). Don’t be afraid to pray for great things and God might surprise you with the answers you receive.
Pray: Father, we acknowledge that we do not often pray for great things to happen in our lives, nor in the lives of our fellow Christians. Surprise us, Lord, with your goodness to us. Re-ignite the fire in the hearts of all those who belong to Christ and may we see changes in our own spirituality and in the spirituality of the Body of Christ around the world. Amen
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