Paul’s Prayer Ephesians 1:15-23

EPH.SLDERSort of the same way many of us pray near the beginning of a ceremony or message, the Apostle Paul prays for the people at Ephesus near the beginning of his Ephesian letter (Ephesians 1:15-23). There are several things about his prayer that I find extremely noteworthy. Before even diving into the prayer itself, I find it quite fascinating to think about all the areas Paul could have prayed for, and we probably would have prayed for, but didn’t.

Paul is writing a new gathering of individuals following Jesus in the first century A.D. They were literally on the front lines of this new movement called “The Way,” which we know as Christianity. They were persecuted, jailed, oppressed, murdered in attempts to thwart their new teaching about Jesus. This is something perhaps we have been given a slight glimpse into over the last few weeks as we have watched journalists beheaded in Iraq. This was happening on a widespread basis to Christians in the first couple hundred years after Jesus died. Followers of Jesus were crucified, burned at the stake, covered in pitch and torched and had their hands and feet tied to wild beasts only to be torn apart at the limbs. Their circumstances were horrific.

Given that terrible reality, and given how we typically pray, I find it remarkable that Paul doesn’t even mention their circumstances in his prayer. He doesn’t say, “God I pray that you keep them safe, that you protect them, that you watch over them, give them money, etc.” I am not saying praying for any of these things is bad. I’m simply saying Paul chooses not to go there.

Paul does pray for one thing. He prays for the one thing that will help every other problem, circumstance or situation find it’s proper understanding. Paul basically tells them I just want you to know God deeper. My prayer is that you know him in a deeper more intimate way, having the eyes of your heart enlightened to three things. Paul prays they would learn three primary things in order to deepen their relationship with God.

Tomorrow we are going to dig into the 3 things that Paul prays we will all know in order to deepen our relationship with God – what is the hope to which they have been called, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward them that believe. This is part of our series entitled “A New Community” a Study of the Book of Ephesians.

 

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