Pondering the Passages: Ephesians 3:14-21

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red):  14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

This passage has always been one of my favorite passages in the NT. It has weeks of ponderable stuff in it. For the sake of this post I’m going to focus on verse 16. This is one of about ten “3:16” verses that has beau coup truth in it. Some thoughts…

Praying for his friends to experience power was at the top of Paul’s prayer list – When I read here (and elsewhere in Paul’s epistles) what and how Paul prayed for his friends I am challenged to overhaul my pitiful prayer life. I readily admit I am a terrible prayer. I do not pray often enough. I do not pray bold enough. I do not pray tenacious enough. And when I do pray it is mostly puny, unbelieving prayers. I often wonder do I even believe in the power of prayer. The answer of course is “yes”. And the answer of course is also “no’. To quote my son (who tweeted this last week): “I wish I believed what I believe!”. Paul believed in prayer and he believed that his praying would make a significant difference in the people he prayed for. He saw a church filled with anemic, weak-kneed Christians and decided to something about it – so he prayed!

Power comes from God – The passage says that power for believers comes “out of (God’s) glorious riches.” Worldly power comes from status. From fame. From wealth. Spiritual power comes from God and manifests itself quite differently. It shows up in the form of faith (v17) and love (v18).

Power comes through God’s Spirit – Every believer has the Spirit of the Living God dwelling inside them. And yet how many of us are living spirit led lives? We like to be in charge. It is very difficult for us to relinquish control. But if power is going to be unleashed through us then we must be willing to submit to God’s authority and surrender to His supremacy.

Enough commentary on my part. I think I’ll close out this post by writing out a prayer. If you have never written out your prayers it is a great exercise to pursue because it makes you really think through what you are praying and not just go through the motions of prayer – which is something most of us do all too often.

Father,

I want to acknowledge that You alone are God. And I want to acknowledge that more often than not I live my life on my terms and not Yours. I confess that I like to be control and I have difficulty living a surrendered life. I confess also that I am weak kneed and anemic in my faith and I do not have the strength of Your power fueling me and filling me to live a Christ exalting life. As Paul prayed for his Ephesian friends I also want to ask that out of Your glorious riches that you would empower me so that I can I live by faith; that I would expect great things from you and attempt great things for you. That I would grasp the magnanimous love of Christ and display this love to people who feel helpless, hopeless, and unworthy of Your love.

And I pray for my church. That together, with contrite hearts, we would quit trying to find favor in Your eyes by doing a lot of religious stuff, and instead call upon Your grace and mercy and compassion to rescue us through the power of the gospel and empower us  to be agents of reconciliation in our community and around the world. That the gospel would magnificently triumph through us as we courageously take Your Word to our schools and workplaces and neighborhoods. That we would not expect people to come to us but that we would go to them. That Your Spirit would revive  a city that is morally decayed and spiritually decrepit as the saints of Ridgecrest  jubilantly advance the gospel for the sake of Your great and matchless Name.

Amen and Amen!

I’m just sayin!

Next Week’s Passage: 1 John 2:15-17
Next Week’s Memory Verse: 1 John 2:17

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