It’s Word Study Wednesday! Today we will take a look at Ephesians chapter 3, which has two very important sections. The first is Ephesians 3:1-13, which reveals the mystery of Christ and the second is Ephesians 3:14-21, which is the second of three prayers in this book.
Paul has mentioned this mystery in earlier verses, but he finally reveals what the mystery is in Ephesians 3:6. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body of Christ, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. This mystery had been hidden from even the Satan and his demons in the heavenly places and now Paul is revealing it. Jews and Gentiles are now joint heirs in Christ. Before only Jews had access to God, but now grace has been made available to the Gentiles as well.
Now let’s take a look at the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. This is the second prayer in Ephesians, with the first in Ephesians 1:15-23. If you would like to read more of Paul’s prison prayers then take a look at Phil 1:9-11 and Col 1:9-12. We can learn much about praying if we study these prayers. Many of the prayers we pray are “me” focused or family focused. We tend to pray for sick people and finances, but very little for lost people or our character. Paul’s prayers focus on the “inner man” rather than the outer body. God says that if we focus on His kingdom, he will provide for ours. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matt 6:33 (NASB). In other words, if we pray for the inner man and get our spiritual life in order, then God will take care of our physical kingdom.
Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” Eph 3:14-21 (NASB).
Paul prays that the church of Ephesus will be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit. We just don’t receive this power automatically, but it can be gained through prayer for ourselves as well as prayer for the church body. Next Paul prays for the church to be rooted and grounded in love. Rooted means that we need to become stable and grounded means we have a good foundation. The only way for this to happen is to study the Word of God. The third attribute he prays for is that the church will be filled up to all the fullness of God. To be filled with the Spirit one must have his/her sins confessed continually, walk in a manner worthy of the calling, and to ask to be filled. He then closes with verses 20 and 21. I love verse 20 because He says that God is able to do far more that we could ever ask or think, but He responds according to the power that works within us. The only thing which can hinder the power of God is ourselves. When we pray we have to have faith that God can do what we ask and will do what we ask. Unbelief and sin hinders prayer.
I realize that this is brief, so if you would like to dig deeper then you will be rooted and grounded in the love of God.