Ephesian Prayer

Notice how Paul prays for the Ephesians:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Ephesians 3:14-17

Ephesians 3 is a chapter of the Bible that one could spend a whole year unpacking. It is so full, each sentence packed with powerful truths. And all these truths are elegantly woven together by Paul in a symphony of word pictures. This prayer gives us just a taste of it.

For this reason: this phrase connects the prayer he’s about to write with what he has just finished discussing. He’s just completed a section where he explained that the mystery of the Gentiles being included in the gospel is part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ”(Ephesians 3:8). It is not something one could just learn from study. Paul said this mystery had to be “made known to me by revelation”(Ephesians 3:3). And though Paul was the “less than the least”(Ephesians 3:8) of God’s people, God gave Paul “the gift of grace” to preach this mystery among the Gentiles in order to make it “plain to everyone”(Ephesians 3:7-9). So it is “for this reason” that he kneels before the Father to pray for them.

Out of His glorious riches: God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of abundance. There is always more than enough when it comes to God’s provision. He never struggles with resources whether they are physical, emotional or spiritual. Imagine a massive storehouse of riches that the Father has continual access to. That is God in His Kingdom. There is always more than enough with God.

Strengthen you with power: Paul’s prayer is that the Father would reach back and grab some power out of His storehouse of glorious riches, and that He would send that power to each person Paul is praying for. This power would be sent so that they can be strengthened. But where and how are they strengthened by this power?

Through His Spirit in your inner being: God will bring this strength to the Ephesian believers by giving it to them through the Holy Spirit in their inner being. The strength that will hit them will be an internal strength, a strength of the mind, will and emotions. Some might call it an internal fortitude. This inner strength will come when the Father sends His power, through the Holy Spirit, to each believer.

So that Christ can dwell in your hearts through faith: What is the purpose of sending this power to increase the internal fortitude of the believer? The hope is that this inner strength, coming through the Holy Spirit, will allow Christ to dwell in their hearts through faith. Christ dwelling in their hearts here isn’t about salvation. They are already believers who have the Holy Spirit. Since their spirits have already been united with the Holy Spirit, this is about their souls (mind, will and emotions) being surrendered to Christ.

The idea of Christ “dwelling” is in contrast to Christ “coming and going.” Another way of saying it is that as this power comes and creates an internal strengthening, faith will rise up and allow their soul (mind, will and emotions) to be in continual submission to Christ. Their obedience to Christ will not be occasional; it will not “come and go.” He will, in a sense, have permanent residence on the throne of their hearts because of the atmosphere of faith there.

One final thing to note is that all of this comes from being in the family of God. It comes as inheritance. It comes because of our relational connection to the Father. We can receive this strengthening power in our inner being through the Holy Spirit, establishing Christ as permanently on the throne of our hearts, because we have the same last name as the Father.

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