Weds 26th July - Ephesians 3:14-21
Meditation on Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every 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 Lord’s holy people, 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.
In the middle of the 19th century Joseph Scriven was due to marry his bride but the night before their wedding his bride drowned accidentally. Some years later he was again due to marry but his bride-to-be contracted pneumonia and died. In the light of these experiences, he wrote a hymn which has stood the test of time.
‘What a Friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.’
There’s another hymn which has stood the test of time, written in 1818. It speaks of the beauty and importance of prayer. Just to quote a few of the verses:
Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try,
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach the Majesty on high.
Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death; he enters heaven with prayer.
Nor prayer is made on earth alone: the Holy Spirit pleads,
and Jesus, on the eternal throne for sinners intercedes.
O Thou by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way,
the path of prayer thyself hast trod: Lord teach us how to pray.’
Maybe you have other favourites but these two, for starters, bring us into the very throne room of heaven.
Twice in chapter 3 Paul starts a new section with ‘For this reason…’
- in verse 1 Paul is looking back to chapters 1-2.
- in verse 14 Paul is looking back to 3:1-13 where he says, ‘because of God’s call on my life and because of His commission on my ministry, I am going to pray for you Christians’.
- PAUL’S ATTITUDE TO PRAYER Verses 14-16a
- submission – ‘I kneel…’
- acknowledgment of God – ‘…before the Father, …’
- confidence in God’s resources – ‘out of His glorious riches…’
- PAUL’S PRAYER Verses 16b-19
- strengthened with power – the Holy Spirit within you – ‘so that…’
- ‘Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives enables Christ to have increasing pre-eminence in our lives.
The Living Bible translates it as: ‘that Christ may be more and more at home in your hearts’.
Paul uses two examples:
- from nature – ‘being rooted’ - if we are to be like a tree, then we need strong, firm and deep roots.
- from a building structure – ‘established’ – if we are to be established, then we need to have a firm foundation.
And the key to this is ‘love’.
- ‘power to grasp’ – not just you as an individual but collectively as the people of God - verses 18-19
- to grasp the ungraspable!
- ‘width’ – takes everyone in
- ‘length’ – eternal / never-ending
- ‘height’ – lifts us up to heaven
- ‘depth’ – ‘He came down to earth from heaven…’
- to know the unknowable – ‘the love that surpasses knowledge’
- to be filled up with God – ‘…to the measure of all the fullness of God.’
- GOD’S ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS Verses 20-21
- He is able
- He is ABLE
- He is able to DO
- He is able to do ALL
- He is able to do MORE THAN ALL
- He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE
- He is at work in us
- His power is at work in us
- He will be glorified
- Not just for time but through all eternity.
This is God’s best for each one of us.
- His call on my life
- His commission on my ministry
- His work in me
- His longing to hear me pray
- His answers to my prayers.
I am standing on top of the mountain.
To God be the glory for ever and ever.