Ephesians 3:14-21 contains one of the most uplifting prayers in all of Scripture, Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. Paul writes from his prison cell and not only wants the Ephesian believers to “know about their salvation, [but he also] wants to teach them how to begin living in the riches of their salvation.” These riches are found in Christ. In Him we have access to the very throne of God and are invited to come with bold confidence to the Father.
Sometimes we forget what we have in Christ. We wake up each day with the cares of this world weighing heavily on our hearts and minds. But our Heavenly Father never slumbers or sleeps, and He wants us to realize the sustaining grace found only in Him. We need to be reminded of these truths! In Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. In love the Father predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself! He bestowed His glorious grace on us in the Beloved. In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. He made known to us the mystery of His will which Colossians tells us is “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Everything is summed up in Christ through Whom we have obtained an inheritance to the praise of His glory. In Him, we have believed and were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. If these statements sound familiar, they come straight from Ephesians chapter one (NASB).
Ephesians 2 goes on to talk about the great redemption we have in Christ. We were once dead in our trespasses and sins, BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace. He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. We, who were once far away, without hope, strangers to the covenant of promise and excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, have been brought near by the blood of Christ (NASB).
As a believer, this is your present reality. It is on this basis that Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (NASB).
In bowing his knees before the Father, Paul was demonstrating an act of worship that was not merely physical, but a posture of his heart. “The posture of prayer is not based on you kneeling, bowing, or standing. The posture of prayer is a heart position before God. Whether kneeling, standing in a crowded subway, shopping for groceries, traveling on a plane, or vacationing, if your attitude is one which flows out of a heart fully submitted to God, filled with awe and submission, then you are bowing your heart before the Father.”
Paul specifically prays in verse 16 that God would grant them to be strengthened “according to the riches of His glory.” My dad highlights Paul’s choice of words here. He didn’t say “out of the riches of His glory,” but “according to the riches of His glory.” There is a significant difference between these two phrases. Dad used the example of a millionaire giving $100 to the church. The millionaire obviously only gave “out of,” not “according to” his wealth. If he had given according to his wealth, he would have given a gift that is representative of it. What a thought that when God strengthens us, He does it “according to the riches of His glory.”
“I believe the bottom line of Paul’s message is, ‘Oh Father, don’t let the Ephesians walk away with their heads full of information. May they walk away fully persuaded in the knowledge of the riches in Christ Jesus. May they be strengthened in the inner man by the power which is resident within them. May they find the source of their strength for daily life, all they say and do, in Christ. May they understand that in receiving Jesus they have received all the riches of the Father.”
In closing, where will you run to be strengthened this week? “Run to the Lord Jesus Christ because in Him is a full reservoir of the strength you need for this life. Let the Spirit of God strengthen you in the inner man with power. Absorb this truth into the deepest valleys of your life. Allow the life of Christ to permeate every thought, word and action.”
“Because Jesus Christ paid your debt in full, you have been redeemed, purchased out of the slave market never to be sold again. You have been released and given a choice, Christ’s strength or your strength. Learn to draw from His strength on a moment-by-moment basis. Learn to be strengthened according to the riches that He has given you in Christ Jesus.”
Week One: Daily Reflections
Day 1: The Benefit of Prayer
- Read Ephesians 2:18-19 and 3:11-12. “One of the riches of your salvation is this marvelous benefit of prayer. You, as a believer, can go into His presence and hear and be heard.”
- How do the above verses relate to Hebrews 4:16?
- What do you learn from Hebrews 10:19-23?
Day 2: The Posture of Prayer
- Read Psalm 51. Record in your journal everything you learn about David’s attitude in this prayer.
- Now read Daniel 9:1-21. What attitude do you see in Daniel as he prayed?
- What heart posture do you see in 1 Peter 5:6-7?
Day 3: The Person we Pray to
- Read Ephesians 3:14-21. What do you learn about God the Father in these verses?
- Read John 8:39-47. Who did Jesus say was the Pharisees’ father? What about them made Jesus say that?
- According to Ephesians 2:1-3, whose children did we used to be? What did God do for us as seen in verses 4-9? As we close out today, read Romans 8:15-17 and Galatians 4:6-7. Record in your journal what you learn about your adoption into God’s family.
Day 4: The Petition of Prayer
- What specific things did Paul ask God for in Ephesians 3:14-19?
- What is God our Father able to do in verses 20-21?
- Read Philippians 4:6-7. How do these verses encourage your heart in light of this study?
Day 5: The Pursuit of Prayer
- “Prayer is the pursuit of a personal, intimate relationship with this Jesus in me.” How do you see your prayer life as an opportunity to go deeper in your relationship with Christ? How does your prayer life relate to abiding in Him?
- What does Colossians 4:2 encourage us to do?
- Have you ever not known what to pray? How does Romans 8:26-27 encourage your heart?
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes or cited from an author, are direct quotes by Wayne A. Barber from the book, “The Surrendered Walk.”