Vol. 4, No. 11
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In the Book of Ephesians there are recorded in chapters one and three, two remarkable prayers which were uttered by the great apostle Paul for the Christians in the city of Ephesus. One can hardly help but wonder what it would be like to have someone as righteous, good and zealous as the apostle Paul offering prayers at the throne of God for one. But that is what he did on behalf of the church at Ephesus, and a cursory look at those prayers will be good for Christians living today. Notice if you will, please, that he offered these prayers to God after he had heard of their faith in Jesus Christ, and their love for all the saints. It would do no good to offer prayers for people who did not have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, except to pray that they might gain such faith, but since these brethren already had such faith, Paul is ready to pray for them. In addition to the great faith which they had in Christ, they also had love for all the saints. Again, we need to point out that without love, no matter how great we are, or claim to be, our lives are as empty as a clanging brass cymbal. Since these Christians had that faith and love, Paul did not cease to give thanks for them, and to pray for them.
For what did Paul pray regarding the Ephesians? The first thing for which he prayed was that God would give them a "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him..." The "spirit of wisdom" of which Paul speaks would be an attitude of conducting themselves wisely in the world in which they were living. A Christian can conduct himself foolishly in this life and bring reproach upon himself and the church for which Jesus died. But not only did he pray for an attitude of wisdom, but that they would receive, from God, further revelations of his knowledge. At the time Paul wrote this letter, the revelations from God that make up the New Testament had not yet been completed, and as Paul wanted these people to be able to grow and develop in the faith, they would need further revelation to do so.
In connection with this revelation of knowledge, Paul prayed that "the eyes of" their "understanding"(heart) might be "enlightened." When they received further revelation from God they would have to understand that revelation in order to act upon it, and so Paul prayed that they might understand what would be said to them in the future as God continued to reveal his will for their salvation through the Holy Spirit.
The next thing for which he prayed was that the Ephesians might "know (have insight or perception) what is the hope of His calling..." Paul wanted these Christians to understand the hope of salvation which they had received as a result of responding to the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ. He pointed out in chapter two, verses eleven through thirteen, that those out of Christ have no hope, but these people were in Christ, so he wanted them to be aware of the hope that they had since they had received the calling of Christ. Not only so, but he wanted them to realize what "riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." That is, he wanted them to understand how rich, how great, how glorious the inheritance that awaited them was. Peter spoke to us on this matter in 1 Peter 1:3-9.
In the very next line, Paul said that he wanted them to know that God, through Christ, had the power to present these riches of his glory to those who believe and accept Jesus Christ. God demonstrated his power to give them the "riches of His glory" when he raised Christ from the dead, and seated him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.
We would not today pray for future revelations because all that we need to know in order to gain that eternal home of the soul has been revealed to us in the pages of the New Testament. But we certainly need to study those pages and pray for God to help us understand all the things that are mentioned in Ephesians 1:15-21. With the attitude of wisdom we need to study the revelation of the knowledge of Christ, and we need to pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened as we study God's divine Word that we may know the hope of his calling, the inheritance that awaits us, and the great power that he has to raise us from the dead, and take us to himself in heaven, just as he raised Jesus from the dead and caused him to ascend back to himself. We urge you to study this prayer, and make these many points a part of your prayer life as you pray for yourself, and for others.