Dick Sorenson shares practical insight on Ephesians chapter 1 and how to apply Paul's prayer in verses 17-21, when we pray for ourselves or others.
Show Notes from the podcast: Ephesians 1 with Dick Sorenson
We’re going to look at the book of Ephesians for several sessions, but especially some of the prayers that Paul prays for the Christians and has them included here in the book of Ephesians so that we, as Christians, know that those prayers specifically are God's will for us, and we can pray those prayers for ourselves and for others, and begin to see the results of those prayers being answered in our lives and other people that we're praying for. So, let's look here at the first chapter that leads up to this first prayer…
“I, Paul, an apostle (a called out one) of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the Saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, in order that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in Christ, the Beloved. Now in Him, we have redemption, it’s through His blood, it’s the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us. With all wisdom and insight, He has made known to us the mystery of His will, and He does this according to His kind intention which He purposed in Christ with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things under the earth. In Christ also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose, and He is the one who works all things after the counsel of His own will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, that is the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
And then Paul says, “For this reason, I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and of your love for all the saints, I do not cease giving thanks for you while making mention of you in my prayers;”
This is quite an introduction that Paul goes into where he's talking about God's purpose; God's intention; out of God's love; out of His kindness; out of His lavish desire. He has worked all things out by His grace and He has called us to Himself and He has made it possible through Christ’s death on the cross, through His blood. And he's able to sum up all things, to fulfill His own purpose and His own promises to Himself and to the universe and to all beings in the universe. Isn't this amazing? And therefore, he said, as a result of this, he's given as a pledge of our inheritance, not just what we have, a little bit now, but of all of the future inheritance that we have for eternity. All provision that’s coming down to us as a result of who we are in Christ, the family we’re related to, the Father we have, and to His promise -
not just to His promise, but to the will that He has established as a result of the death of One, and all that He has, going to His family. So we are inheriting all the Jesus Christ had in Himself from the Father for all of eternity. And so, part of that redemption is a downpayment, a pledge, that He has given and that is the Holy Spirit that He has imparted to us as a seal or as a pledge of the full inheritance being given.
So, he shares this prayer here in Ephesians 1:17-23. Let me just read it through first and then make a couple of comments. So, I would read this, if I'm praying for myself, in the first person and I’d put my name, or I put my pronoun, or what’s appropriate.
“I pray that the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the father of Glory may give me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge, the true knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be opened and enlightened so that I may be able to know, comprehend what is the hope of His calling, what are His promises that He is giving, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in me one of the Saints and what is the surpassing greatness of His power that's at work within me, one who believes. And these are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised him from the dead, seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. That is far above all rule, all authority, all power, all dominion, every name that is named, not only in this age that we live in but also in the ones to come, all of eternity. And He has put all things in subjection under His feet of which I'm a part. If I'm part of His body, I can be the very lowest part of His body, the bottom of His foot, and all things are under me, one of the feet, and He has given Him as head, Christ, over all things to the church which is His body the fullness of Him who fills all and in all.”
This is a great prayer that Paul is saying we all need to have this happen in our lives, and we will. As you pray this prayer out loud every day for yourself, or for another person, you will gain understanding, you will gain knowledge and information. You will have your emotions begin to be redirected and you will have your physical feelings be realigned and you will have insight. But, beyond that, the things that you're praying, that you're asking God for, that you're agreeing with Him about in this prayer, the Holy Spirit actually begins to produce this. And you see it beginning to be manifest and you do experience it. Usually in a couple of weeks, and you start seeing these things happening as a result, because this is God's will for us. And as we pray, we're agreeing with Him and His will and we begin to experience it.
We need the eyes of our heart, not just our mind. Yes, our mind needs to be transformed and renewed, but it first come through our heart, and it begins to open the eyes of our heart again to perceive, understand, comprehend, and be enlightened; brought into revelation from He who is the light, so that we can know by experience God's promises - the hope of His calling. You and I have a calling specifically from Him - promises - and He wants to open the eyes of our heart so we can understand it, know it, comprehend it, agree with Him and began to experience the riches of His Glory.
Glory means the weight of God, the manifest evidence of His presence and the inheritance that He has for us. We begin receiving part of that inheritance, using it when it's necessary, having it available so that we can receive what has been promised by God and what’s available to us. And then, we start to experience the immeasurable, surpassing greatness of His power. Not our power, not our strength. Not the power of the natural things around us. But, instead, the power of God, and it's there according to His strength and His might and He brings it about in Christ. The same thing that raised Him from the dead is there, available to us, in us, through us, and for us. And He is at the right hand in Heavenly places as a result of the death, burial, and resurrection, and, therefore, as part of our inheritance.
That way, we can be there also and He's far above all rule, all authority, all power, all Dominion, every name, every character; doesn't matter where, how; it doesn’t matter what spiritual forces people tie into. He is far above all of those not only in this time but also for all of eternity. All things are in subjection, not only here, but in the heavens under Him and that is on behalf of His body of which we're all a part of if we've been redeemed, we've called upon His name, and we are experiencing His salvation and creation in us.
Well, I'd encourage you to pray this prayer and do it every day and begin to see God’s surpassing greatness and power that starts being at work in you, through you, around you, and for you.