Prayer for Power
Paul ends long sentence of verses 3-14 with another sentence here in verses 15-23. While not explicitly a written-out prayer, Paul reports what he has been praying for the Ephesian believers. And the theme of this prayer is really Christ's power toward His people.
As was stated in the previous three blogs, the first sentence (Ephesians 1:3-14) focused on three primary blessings that God's people have in Christ: The Loving Adoption, The Cosmic Redemption, and The Guaranteed Inheritance. Paul shows in this summation of his prayer that this all comes because of Christ's power. He begins by giving thanks for this power. He states in verses 15-16, "For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers..." Notice the key phrase, "to give thanks FOR you" (emphasis added). What specifically is Paul giving thanks to God for? Precisely what he stated in the previous phrase: their "faith in the Lord Jesus" and their "love toward all the saints." It is God's power that causes them to be able to have faith in Jesus and love for other believers. We, like Paul, should constantly thank God for that power at work in us, power to give us faith and love.
Paul moves from thanksgiving to petition. He asks God to continue to work out this power in the lives of the Ephesian believers. He asks "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened..." Not only has God worked in their lives in the past, but Paul prays that the Lord would continue to work out this power in their lives. We need God to constantly give us His wisdom and to constantly enlighten our hearts.
Paul prays that the Lord would show them three specific things: 1) "the hope to which he has called [them]," 2) "the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints," 3) "the immeasurable greatness of his power." The first two are really reiterations of what has already been mentioned in verses 3-14. But the third thing, God's power, is what Paul emphasizes in the rest of this passage. Verses 19-20a go like this: "and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ..." We should want to know God's power. And how has He shown this power? Verses 20-23 answer that question for us.
Jesus is the supreme display of this power. It is amazing that over and over again (especially in Ephesians) Paul connects our obedience to the work of Christ. He states that Christ is the One with "all rule and authority and power and dominion." He is "above every name that is named." He is the One who has "all things under his feet." And God has given Christ "as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."
Paul uses these great theological truths to display to us that Jesus truly is it! He is the One who has all the power we need for everything in our lives. Both as individual Christians and as the church, we cannot truly do anything unless we are daily trusting in His power to lead us and work in us. Even the demons believe that Christ has all power. But they don't love it nor do they trust in it. We are not just called to believe that Jesus has this power, but we are to be connected to it, to ask that we would sense it deep in our souls.
As a church, we must be connected to Christ, who is our "head." We cannot do anything of eternal value if we are not resting in His immeasurable power. We cannot confuse activity with true life in Christ. A chicken with its head cut off will run around for a while, giving signs of life, but it does not really have any life in it. And it will soon die. So is a church that is not constantly trusting in Christ's power to breathe life into it. I pray that we, Machias Valley Baptist Church, would constantly trust in Jesus' power for our everyday life, our corporate life, and our eternal life.