This is why I kneel before the Father. Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14–21
Today’s Devotional was written by:Lance Bolay
Our Wednesday night prayer group has met to reflect on Ephesians 3:14–21 every week since September. This text records Paul’s prayer for the Christ-followers in Ephesus. Paul prefaces his prayer with, “For this reason…” What reason? In Christ, everything in heaven and on earth is being reconciled to God (Eph 1:10). There is cosmic renewal in Christ, and its effects are local and practical. There is a new humanity created by the Spirit of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jew and non-Jew are now one in Christ. All people, no matter their ethnicity, can be at peace with one another, and the church is the practical embodiment of this new creation.
This is why Paul’s prayer is so important. The only way the church can live out its calling and purpose is if believers are strengthened in their inner being through the power of the Spirit, if by the Spirit Christ dwells in their hearts through faith, and if they are filled with the fullness of God. All of creation comes from God—every family in heaven and on earth takes its name from the Father (v. 14)—and the goal, telos, of creation is to be filled with the fullness of God. We come from God. We are meant to be reconciled back to God. But the only way to reach that goal is through the Spirit. Paul understands that the church is nothing without the Spirit. The church is empty without the Spirit. Creation and all of humanity disintegrates into chaos and death without the Spirit. The Spirit reconciles. The Spirit resurrects and gives new life. The Spirit brings wholeness and cosmic flourishing.
- How do you present yourself to the Spirit in order to receive the Spirit’s power?
- How do you practice, in concrete and intentional ways, openness to the Spirit?
- Do you pray for the Spirit to strengthen and revive other believers, as Paul did?
- What is the evidence that the Spirit is strengthening your inner being? That Christ is dwelling in your heart?
- That you are being filled with the fullness of God?
Read this verse in context:Ephesians 3
This is why I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ for you Gentiles.
2 You’ve heard, of course, about the responsibility to distribute God’s grace, which God gave to me for you, right? 3 God showed me his secret plan[a] in a revelation, as I mentioned briefly before (4 when you read this, you’ll understand my insight into the secret plan[b] about Christ). 5 Earlier generations didn’t know this hidden plan that God has now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets through the Spirit. 6 This plan is that the Gentiles would be coheirs and parts of the same body, and that they would share with the Jews in the promises of God in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I became a servant of the gospel because of the grace that God showed me through the exercise of his power.
8 God gave his grace to me, the least of all God’s people, to preach the good news about the immeasurable riches of Christ to the Gentiles. 9 God sent me to reveal the secret plan[c] that had been hidden since the beginning of time by God, who created everything. 10 God’s purpose is now to show the rulers and powers in the heavens the many different varieties of his wisdom through the church. 11 This was consistent with the plan he had from the beginning of time that he accomplished through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In Christ we have bold and confident access to God through faith in him.[d] 13 So then, I ask you not to become discouraged by what I’m suffering for you, which is your glory.
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians
14 This is why I kneel before the Father. 15 Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. 16 I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. 17 I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, 18 I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. 19 I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
20 Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; 21 glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.
Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible