November 20, 2011
Ephesians 1:15-23

This paragraph 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 in 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 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 about 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 the prayer begins with the word therefore. When I see the word therefore, I have learned to ask, “What’s it 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.

I. Paul Thanks God for the Ephesians’ Faith (v. 15)
He was aware of their saving faith. His thanksgiving was rooted first in the fact the Ephesians had trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. This is what the therefore is based on. He is looking back on the day they turned to Christ for salvation.

Paul was also grateful for their practical faith. Not only had he heard of their love for Jesus, but 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 in 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.”

II. Paul Requested Two Things for the Ephesians (vv. 17-19)
He prayed first 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, but failing to pray for them to 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 1:28-29).

Many people know about Christ. They know Him as a historical Person. They may even know He is God’s Son. However, the idea behind Paul’s language is that of intimate knowledge of someone. To know a person in the deepest, most 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?

Second, Paul 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, to know the riches of their inheritance in Christ and to know the mighty power of God.

Paul did not want the flock to lack; therefore, he prayed for the sheep to know Christ. Are you praying for someone?

Share This On: