Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV): For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
This prayer of Paul’s is a great prayer! It is prayed passionately, and concretely, not abstractly. It is the prayer of a servant of God for those who are to become servants of God. If there was one prayer that pastors and Church Board members should pray for their congregations, that Sundays School teachers and Small Group leaders should pray for their members, that each Christian should pray for their fellow Christians, this would be that one.
- That God would strengthen them with power through the Holy Spirit – That is, to give them power to be witnesses who will testify fearlessly about God even in the face of the persecution that is sure to come. (Acts 1:8, John 15:26-16:4)
- That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith – When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person, the whole Godhead is there as well. And it is through the indwelling Christ that a person’s character is molded, shaped, and transformed into that of Jesus.
- Being rooted and established in love – Just as a plant draws nutrients from the soil in which it is rooted and established, so God’s people are to draw the love that I root and establish them in, that will then grow and expand into every area of their lives.
- Have the power to grasp the width, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ – God’s people cannot display a love that they cannot grasp. We are instructed to love God with all of ourselves, to love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves, and to love one another in the same self-sacrificing way that Jesus loves each of us. Only with God’s insight, given freely to those who genuinely ask, can a person really grasp what each of those means, and fully live them out.
- To know (experience) the love that surpasses knowledge – God’s all-encompassing love is not a concept to be grasped, but a reality to be lived in; a creative and regenerating force that is to flow through the lives of God’s people and into the lives of all those around them.
- To be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God – To be so completely full of God’s presence that there is nothing manifested through a person’s life but God and His will, exactly like Jesus.
These are huge requests, from a human perspective. But Paul knew that God is able to make each one a reality in a person’s life, and He still can, and will, today!
Father, these ARE huge requests, but I can see that, if we really pray these for all of our people, how that will change everything. Thank You for Your miracle-working power that can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Amen