So far in our series on prayer we’ve looked at the prayer of Jabez, the prayer of Jesus, and the prayer of victory. This week we will look at the prayer of Paul. Paul wrote Ephesians while in prison. The first three chapters are doctrinal and the last three are practical. This prayer comes not at the end of the practical, but the doctrinal. Although he is in prison, his prayer focuses on God. He started thinking about how he was saved, adopted, accepted, redeemed, set free, forgiven, sealed, etc. Paul did not pray to get out of jail. Too often our prayers are, “God get me out of this mess!” Paul’s prayer for us teaches us:
In our 20 Days of Prayer we have talked about prayer posture. The Bible speaks of standing, sitting, lifting holy hands, etc. Bowing the knee is a sign of humility. Paul prays this prayer from his knees (v. 14). It is an outward expression that God is in charge and we are not. If Christ knelt and prayed submitting to the will of the Father, and the greatest Christian we know anything about, the apostle Paul, knelt and submitted to the will of the Father, how much more we should. It is the way I start every day. When pride walks in God walks out! Humble yourself before the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up (1 Pet. 5:6). In verse 16, Paul prays for our inner man. Every one of us lives in four worlds: Private – This is what no one but God knows (thoughts and motives). Personal – This is what close family and friends know. Professional – This is what our colleagues, peers, associates, and co-workers know. Public – This is what people have heard and read about you through word of mouth and social media. Who are you really when no one else is watching? What kind of person are you? Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Who you are in the inner person is who you really are. If we are not careful, we can go through the motions and fake it. We can give God lip service but our hearts, our inner man, can be far from God. We need more than information. We need transformation by the Spirit of God. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord” (Zech. 4:6).
In verse 17 Paul prays, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love….” Dwell means to be at home. God wants to be at home in your home and in your heart. Is Jesus at home in your life? To be rooted in love is to be like a tree. To be rooted means you are drawing your nourishment, life, food, water, and everything you need to sustain you and cause you to flourish from the source. It is the picture of endurance and strength that can stand the storms of life. To be grounded in love is the picture of a building, a massive building that has structural integrity. It is the part that is hidden underground. If your life (private, personal, professional, and public) is built on Christ the solid rock, it will stand firm and not fall (Matt. 7:25). In verses 18-19, Paul prays that we may know the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God. He wants us to know what cannot be known and do what cannot be done on our own. Spiritual intimacy determines spiritual capacity. He is the Vine and we are the branch. The closer you get to God the more capacity God gives you.
Paul closes, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (v. 20). It is all about Him. It is not about me or you, but it’s all about Him. God is able! He can save your hard-headed, hard-hearted lost friends and family members. God does not halfway do anything! He is able to do the impossible! Just look at some of the verses that remind us of this – Heb. 7:25, 2 Cor. 9:8, Jude 24, etc. There is no limit to what God can do. Any limitation is on our part and is self-imposed. We can limit an unlimited God with our lack of faith and our unbelief. Offer God all of you so He will maximize what He wants to do in your life. Paul learned to glory in his infirmities. Paul said his troubles in life were for their glory, good, gain, and ultimately God’s glory (v. 13). Praise your way through the pain, pressure, past, present, adversity, and challenges, and you will see God do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine! Remember God wants to dwell in your heart and He wants to be at home in your life.