Dear PRCW members and readers: In Ephesians 3:14-21, the Apostle Paul lays out a prayer for abundant growth in the Lord.
- First it is a Prayer for Abundant Strength.
Paul prayed that out of His glorious riches, God would strengthen this church with power through the Spirit in the inner being (verse 16).
We, as Christians, have what we call the inner being. We are created as spiritual beings. If a person is regenerate, he or she is made a new creature. They have has been inwardly renewed. The inner man has been made a partaker of the divine nature; the seed of divine life is planted within. It grows with God’s blessing.
Yet, there are many forces against the inner being. The Apostle Paul in Romans 7 speaks of the struggle within the life of a believer. “I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
We, as believers, want to serve the Lord, but sin is always near. We need specifically to pray for the abundant strength of God to have His strength against sin. We need to be strengthened with the power that flows forth from the glorious riches of God — the rich, plentiful, fullness of grace and strength in Christ Jesus.
Prayer is a powerful weapon. Our secret as Christians is to have our inner beings supported and built up through the Holy Spirit.
- Secondly, it’s a Prayer for the Abundant Dwelling of Christ.
In the Old Testament, God dwelt in the midst of His people in the tabernacle or the temple as a picture of the indwelling of the Spirit. Each saint has Christ dwelling in them personally through the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us through faith.
Paul is not praying here that these people in Ephesus would come to a saving faith. He already calls them saints. Rather, he is praying for those who already have Christ is in them. Paul is asking the Lord to cause them to grow closer to Him. He is praying for a closer, more intimate fellowship with the Lord, that Jesus Christ may become more real, and that He would be the passion of their souls.
It’s possible that a Christian does not enjoy deep fellowship with Christ nor fully appreciate His perfect work. He may not have a real sense of Christ and knowing Him intimately. This is why we need to pray Paul’s prayer. We need to pray that in our personal lives, in our marriages, in our families, in our churches, and in our social lives, that we might know Christ more abundantly by faith.
- Thirdly, it’s a Prayer for Abundant Growth in the Immeasurable Love of Christ.
Paul’s prayer was that church would come to know the immeasurable, infinite, endless love of Christ: “that you being rooted and ground in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge.” Paul speaks paradoxically here. He would have them know something that surpasses knowledge.
Christ’s love surpasses our ability to know it completely. It is so wide and long and high and deep that it is beyond our human ability to grasp, to figure out. Just think, the eternal Son of God became a man for us, to suffer and die so that we could no longer be enemies of the Father. The mystery of it! It’s beyond human understanding.
Have there been times where you have become spiritually lethargic? Do we consider worship and prayer just duties? Have you allowed the world, the flesh or devil to defeat you and to depress you? The one cure is to meditate on the love of Christ and to pray that we might come to see it more. Have you realized its height and depth and how unlimited it is? It’s then that you realize that Jesus is the lover of your soul.
- Fourthly it’s a Prayer for the Abundant Filling of God.
To be filled with all the fullness of God does not mean to have full comprehension of Him, nor of having in the fullness of grace which dwells in Christ. It is speaking of being filled with the Lord and the good things that we may receive from God in this life. You take bottle and fill it with water from the ocean. It is full with water from the ocean, but the bottle is nowhere near to being filled the vastness of the ocean. That only begins to illustrate this filling of God. As Christians, it is a great blessing to be filled with God. If Christ is in us, then it means that all the fullness of the Godhead is living in us. Again, it is beyond measure.
It is to be filled with a satisfaction in the righteousness of Christ and with the Spirit. It is to enjoy the heavenly gifts and graces of Christ – His mercy, love, power, and presence. It is to have everlasting communion with God.
- Fifthly it’s a Prayer of Praise to God for His Abundant Blessings
Paul ends this section with this doxology – a praise of God’s name.
God the Father can do immeasurably more that we could ever think or imagine. He has the power. By His power He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He has the power over death and hell. By His power, He restored us to life, though we were spiritual dead. He has the power over all things.
No one can stop Him from acting according to His will. He has power to do anything in us. We see this also through trials and adversity. Yet, in all that we go through, we can more that we had ever hoped for or prayed for.
Life is not easy or glamorous. It has its troubles due to sin and the curse. Thorns and thistles are there are in everything we do. It can be tiring and wearisome. But, we have a God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think. And if we have a God like that, He is there to encourage and to help you. We have a God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. And praise God for that – He will never leave us or forsake us!
This why Paul ends with a glorious fact: “To Him be the glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations.” Glory already has been given to Him and will be for eternity.
Pray to the God of all abundance that He will cause you to grow in Him. Prayer is what you need. And may we all find our strength and encouragement in the abundance of God’s riches!
In Christ, Pastor Rich Anjema