Ephesians 3:14-20 – Prayer Pauls Way

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Love

One thing i notice when i read things written by Paul is that he wrote out, or mentioned his prayers in nearly all of the letters.  my impression is that for Paul, prayer was nearly synonymous with breathing.  He thanked God, and prayed for God’s grace and mercy again and again.  He prayed for the general, and at times for the specific.

Paul not only mentioned his own prayers, but mentioned others who prayed, and asked those he wrote to pray as well.  Even if none of his prayers are an example — the prominence of prayer is an example.  Paul tells the Thessalonians to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17),  and he told the Philippians to pray and not worry. (Philippians 4:6)  Paul behaves the same as he recommends by praying to God instead of worrying.

Contents of this prayer

Prayer TO God who Calls every family on Earth

When looking at various translations, you may see some disagreement on which preposition to choose.  I understand this part to mean that Christ calls all people — The Greek into English seems to me to say: “Each descendant in heaven and on earth is called by him”.

Paul is praying to a God with a mission as broad as his own, to bring Salvation, and a new identity of Christ to the whole world.

Prayer TO God – The one with more than we can ask or think.

It is deeply tempting to believe that “God helps those who help themselves”  It’s quoted this all the time, but this is not the doctrine of the gospel.  In truth, i seek God’s help because i cannot help myself.

There is a Latin word, Omnipotent, to describe God’s power.  Rene Descartes described this power better than the word itself by suggesting that a person imagine the greatest most powerful being he could.  The true omnipotent God has power even greater than what can be imagined.  Paul addresses God using the same metaphor later described by Descartes.  God is more than i can ask for, or imagine.

Prayer for the people That i may be Strengthened

It seems sane to consider that when Paul prays that God give the readers strength, that he does not wish them to rely on their own strength but God’s strength.  Paul has wrote extensively explaining that man is in no way good enough but needs God’s grace.  Paul does not tell the people to “be stronger” but calls on God to give them strength.

Prayer TO God  – That Christ may dwell in my heart

For many of us, this is basic Christianity. Children speak of Christ in their heart — though, we often find this basic idea difficult as well… how is it that Christ dwells in our heart?

Whether conflict, or success, or failings, our lives have been connected with Christ… whether Christ “dwells in our hearts” because he is always in our thoughts, and we pray just as we breathe”, or if this is something deeper. Paul’s prayer is that i am tied more and more closely with Christ.

Prayer TO God – To Be rooted and grounded in love

Paul also prays that i become rooted in love.  In Ephesians, Paul explains how Salvation is among other things the healing of human relationships.  Paul prays that God will grant the readers a solid love — to keep their feet stead… or love solid as the ground under my feet.  This standard is stated over and over again from Christ, throughout Church history.

Prayer TO God – Understand… breadth, length, height, and depth

Paul is using physical dimensions when calling me to understand.  It is pure speculation to point this out — but, I count four words of dimension — while our senses recognize only three.  Paul prays that God gives me understanding… beyond what i have.  Some see more clearly than others, but it takes special revelation to understand what is beyond our senses.

Prayer TO God – Christ’s love

Paul prays that i will understand Christ’s love that “surpasses all understanding”.  With my mind, i can reason that the whole of Christ’s life and death on this earth are a testament of His love.  The choice to give His own name and reputation to replace the one i earn for myself is a testament of His love.  Many people focus on the details of the cross — as the whole of life of Christ seems to much to understand.  i may focus on salvation from hell, as i cannot comprehend salvation from a life of focusing on myself instead of Christ.  If Christ roots me in love for one another, and He has killed conflict between men on the cross – this is part of Christ’s love for me.  i spend a lifetime understanding this love… and it is deep enough for a lifetime of epiphanies. ( i like that word)

Prayer TO God – That you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Paul also prays i may be filled with “all the fullness of God”  Paul’s prayer is something that is definitely a continuous process.  No matter how much i grow, there is more fullness to fill me.

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