It’s Word Study Wednesday at Prayer in Every City. I hope you have been keeping up with us on our study of Ephesians. Remember that our outline for the book of Ephesians is Sit, Walk, Stand, Bow. This week we will be looking at Ephesians 1. We will not be able to cover the entire chapter in our lesson, today, but I hope you will at least read it.
The book of Ephesians is a book of encouragement written to the church of Ephesus. Paul complements the church in his opening statement and says they are faithful in Christ Jesus. This phrase “in Christ Jesus” is a repeated phrase throughout the book of Ephesians. I like to mark repeated words and phrases in my Bible in a distinctive way. I have marked this phrase by coloring a red box around it. You may want to keep a list titled “Our Wealth and Position in Christ” and list what believers have in Christ. By knowing what our inheritance is and who we are in Christ, we will better be able to stand in the evil day. Other key words you may wish to mark in this book are saints, grace, rich(es), walk, the Holy Spirit or Spirit, body (church) and others you may find. This is optional, but it can be a valuable tool later on. I always mark the words prayer, bow, ask or any other synonym of prayer in my Bible with a purple circle.. Later on when scanning my Bible, I can easily find these verses on prayer.
There are 3 prayers in the book of Ephesians with one being in chapter one. Let’s take a look at our prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 and break it down.
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” Eph 1:15-23 (NKJV).
Paul begins this prayer with encouraging words for the church. They have developed a good reputation which has been heard by Paul. He commends them for their faithfulness and their love for all the saints. Our churches today need to examine themselves to ensure that they are as faithful as the church of Ephesus. Many of our churches have been torn apart with disagreements and squabbles over music, programs and other issues. We need to view our church membership as a way to serve Jesus and not ourselves. We need to love other church members even when we do not agree with them. In verse 16 Paul says that he does not cease giving thanks for them and mentioning them in His prayers. He also prays for other churches throughout the Middle East. How often do we pray for our church as well as other churches? We need to start thinking of the church as one body of Christ made up of many members. The “church” is not a place where we attend church, but the believers in Jesus Christ.
After he gives thanks for the church, he asks the Lord to give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Before I studied Ephesians, I had often prayed for wisdom for myself, but had never thought to pray this for other people. He also prays that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened and that they will know the hope of His calling. He wants the church to know of their riches in glory and their inheritance. He ends the prayer by teaching the church about Christ’s position in heaven and power. Many times I wonder if we forget how powerful our God is. We worry over finances, illnesses, and many things that never happen. If we fully trusted God over every aspect of our lives, we would worry much less.
I recommend making a list of everything you learn about Jesus Christ. When you are feeling worried or down, you can look at this list to remind yourself of the power of Jesus Christ. Here is what we learn about Jesus in this prayer:
- God raised Him from the dead (nothing is impossible with God)
- He is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places
- Far above all rule, power, dominion, and every name that is named (this includes rulers on earth as well as Satan and his demons)
- Put all things in subjection under His feet
- Gave Him as head over all things to the church
- The church, His body, belongs to Him
When we truly understand who Jesus is, we will not worry. We should let go of the control of our lives and turn that control over to Jesus. Many don’t want to do this because they fear what God might ask them to do, but when we obey the Lord we get peace, joy, love, and patience. If we refuse to relinquish our control, we not experience all the fruits of the Spirit.
I encourage you to take this prayer and pray for your church, the churches in your county and state, as well as every church in America. We need enlightenment in our churches and this can happen through our prayers.