For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
(Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)
If you recall Paul began praying for the Ephesians in verse 1 of chapter 3 but quickly got sidetracked into explaining more spiritual truth. He picks up the prayer here in verse 14.
The words “For this reason” refer to all Paul has told the Ephesians thus far in this letter. He has told them all about their standing before God as people who have been forgiven of their sins and are now permanently part of God’s family. They were once spiritually dead, but were made alive through Christ.
Since they are his spiritual brothers and sisters Paul desires to pray for them. We are often inclined to pray for those people we know who do not yet know God, which is a good thing. But those people who do know God need prayer also. Our prayers for the unsaved should be that they believe in Jesus’ death as the complete payment for the forgiveness of their sins. Saved people need different prayers.
Notice, too, that the reason Paul prays is in response to truth. What Paul knows about God drives him to pray for others. Paul knows these things because he has spent hour upon hour reading Scripture, learning from other godly people including the original apostles, and communicating with God directly.
God has told us that He responds to prayer [1 John 5:14-15]. We can conclude, therefore, that if we pray we will see God respond. But the opposite is also true. If we don’t pray, we won’t see much improvement in our lives. Unfortunately there are many distractions in the world today that compete with God. We spend way too little time in prayer.
I suspect that one reason why we don’t see God answering a lot of our prayers is our prayers are lame. We ask for things rather than asking to be changed. As we study this prayer of Paul’s over the coming days we’ll learn what a truly great prayer is.
If we want to see change we need to pray. But if we want to have effective prayers, we need to know what to pray for. And to know what to pray for we need to know God’s word – just like Paul did.
God wrote the Bible for our benefit. We should read it and it should direct our prayer life. Not only by the “sample” prayers of Paul and others, but by the very truth it contains. Then our prayers will be accurate and will align with God’s will. Then we will see real change in ourselves and in our world.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.