of Scripture contains one of Paul’s two prayers found in his letter to the Ephesians.
The second prayer, Ephesians 3:14-21, is for the Christians at Ephesus to have
strength. The first one, found here is our text, is for them to have wisdom.
Do you know of
people who pray for you? I often hear people call my name in prayer. It is
an incredible blessing to have your name called out in prayer. I often stop
and ponder the fact that my name was just heard in heaven. Think about it.
It is one thing
to be prayed for. It is quite another to pray for someone else. Paul loved
the Ephesian Christians. Read Acts 20:17-38, and you will have a small glimpse
into Paul’s passionate love for the Ephesians. His love for them drove him
to pray for them.
The prayer before
us is a happy prayer. It is a positive prayer. In it Paul rejoices over a
number of things and asks for a couple of things. It is a happy prayer. It
is an expression of praise.
You will notice
that the prayer begins with the word therefore. When I see the word
therefore I have learned to ask what it is there for? It is a hinge
word. It usually points back to what has just been said. Here, Paul is looking
back with great gladness to the saving and delivering power of God. He rejoices
in the salvation of the Lord.
Paul Thanks God for the Ephesians Faith (v. 15)
He was aware of
their saving faith. His thanksgiving was rooted first of all in the fact that
the Ephesians had trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. This
is what the therefore is based on. He is looking back upon the day they
turned to Christ in salvation.
Paul was also grateful
for their practical faith. Not only had he heard of their love for Jesus, he
had heard of their love for all the saints. Faith is two directional. It reaches
upward to God, but it also reaches outward to man. This is what James had in
mind when he wrote about faith and works. He said, James 2:17-18, “ Thus also
faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You
have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works and I will
show you my faith by my works”.
Paul Requested Two Things for the Ephesians (vv.17-19)
He prayed first
of all that they might know Christ, v.17. This is not a prayer for salvation,
but that they might have a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Are we guilty
of praying for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ and be saved, and not
praying for them that they might grow and mature in their faith.
Paul’s burden was
not only to lead men to Christ but to lead them to maturity in Christ. (Colossians
Many people know
about Christ. They know Him as a historical person. They may even know that
He is God’s Son. However, the ideal behind Paul’s lanuage is that of intimate
knowledge of someone. To know a person in the deepest, most personal and intimate
way is what Paul had in mind. He wanted the Ephesians to have an intimate relationship
with Jesus Christ. We pray for people to know Jesus as Savior, but do we pray
for them to have an intimate relationship with Him?
prayed for the Ephesians to see what Christ has done and what He offers to those
who believe in Him, vv.17-19. He wanted them to have hope, and to know the
riches of their inheritance in Christ, and to know the mighty power of God.
did not want the sheep in flock to go lacking; therefore, he prayed for them
that they might know Christ.
you praying for someone?
brief provided by: Roger D. Willmore, pastor of Deerfoot
Baptist Church in Trussville, Alabama