Prayer of Intercession

Scripture references are taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

Paul begins a prayer for the Believers in Ephesus with three words, “For this reason.” What is the reason? I am certain that everyone could pick out what the reason for this prayer is, but this prayer connects the previous verses which mention the ‘mystery’ with the coming message concerning the calling of God upon His people. God gave reason for this prayer, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:8-10

The Reason for Paul’s Prayer

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21.

The example of prayer is oftentimes spoken to here, that is to pray upon the knees, but we can also note that others in Scripture prayed standing up with extended arms, faces looking into the heavens or even falling prostrate before God. However, in the NT the most often seen posture is on bent knees.

What does the Apostle mean when he uses the phrase “every family in heaven and on earth?” Contextually, this family is that unique Family of God, the Redeemed for in v. 16 Paul writes, “that He (God) would grant you,” which gives an indication that the family is the Chosen Race, the Redeemed. We who are of the Body of Christ understand THAT name comes from being the Bride of Christ.

We Pray Because We Belong to God

Every person is multi-faceted for we are both a body and a soul. The physical part of us gives us identification to the world in which we live. However, the inward man is that which allows us identification with God and eternity or not. This physical body is not the “image of God” which is noted in Genesis 1:26a, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” but, “Why?” There is not enough room here in purpose or space to adequately give an answer to the ‘why,’ but here is something, God created people to reflect His image, to rule over creation, and to reproduce godly offspring in order to ultimately remove Satan and his host from the earth. Spiritually, we are in spiritual warfare, “ Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12. The physical side of man is here to, “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And we are to produce families which will become Godly in the likeness of the Creator.

As Christ-followers We Are to Be…

Verses 16-19 contain volumes of information about who Followers of the Christ are to be, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

First, we are “to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” just as Paul mentions in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” This is not an ability we have but comes through the riches of His glory.

Here is something we most likely NEVER think about for we are “strengthened through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Does this mean that BEFORE the Risen Christ is able to live in the heart of the Believer through faith that this person is strengthened by the Holy Spirit? Instantaneously, as a lost person expresses faith in the Christ, the Holy Spirit ‘cleans house’ before taking up residence. Now, THAT is something to think about, but this makes sense for a lost soul is not able to remove personal sin and guilt. Only the Risen Christ is able. Salvation by grace through faith comes into a new spirit prepared by the Holy Spirit!

Next, “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,” verses 17-19. The house is cleaned and becomes the Temple of the Holy Spirit, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Only when the old man is removed can the Temple of the Holy Spirit be constructed. With redemption the love of Christ takes root and a new man is discipled. We are blessed and this is beyond our understanding and our imagination cannot comprehend what this relationship with Jesus Christ is or can be apart from His presence.

The work of the Spirit of God is beyond anything that you and I can possibly imagine or accomplish, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Paul ends his prayer with this statement, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” All of this is accomplished in the Believer, “according to the power that works within us.” Think about it.

Jesus is Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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