This is part of a devotional video series where we read a few verses of Scripture, share a few thoughts, and then speak them back to God in prayer.
Ephesians 3:14-21, NKJV
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
There are many important things we can talk about in this prayer, but I only want to highlight some core points not only as to what the Apostle Paul is praying for here, but why He is praying like this.
This church in Ephesus who he is writing to is the same church in Ephesus who Jesus would later speak to in Revelation 2, which the apostle John recorded. This was the church that Jesus commended for working hard, but then corrected for forgetting their first love—charging them to remember and repent that they might overcome and eat from the tree of life.
I believe Paul has insight about how to pray for both himself and other believers who are in danger of losing heart because of discouragement and disappointment. He even tells them in the verses before this prayer to not lose heart looking at his troubles (he is writing from prison). The devil tells us that our trials are proof that we do not have God’s favor, that we are a failure who is forgotten by God, disqualified from His blessing, and destined to fail, or that our relationship with God is not genuine and sincere. Paul teaches that our trials do not contradict God’s love, favor, power, and blessing in our life; rather, they can help prepare us to experience them more and give us opportunity to make known the glory of Christ.
The problem is that we don’t just wake up one day and want to give up. Discouragement becomes disappointment, which becomes depression, which becomes despair. Discouragement is like a flat tire. You can’t just ignore it. No amount of driving will put air back into that tire. The tire has to be fixed.
We don’t burn out because we work too hard, we burn out because we aren’t in love. We don’t give up in the warfare because of the warfare, we give up because we don’t see clearly in the warfare.
Paul gives us a prayer model here to address the root issue. Now we can ask for an outward strength at certain times, but it would not solve the problem. Rather, this prayer asks for an inward strength, a spiritual might for the deepest places of our being, so that we can encounter the love of Jesus Christ. So keep praying for God to strengthen the work of your hands, but make it a point to first pray for Him to strengthen your heart to know His love—and pray for other in this way.
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
God, awaken our eyes to see our powerlessness and spiritual poverty that we might ask You for strength in our heart to encounter Your love in a deeper way. I have to know the Love of Christ. The love that will root us and ground is in such a way that no flood persecution, no fiery trials or arrows of accusation, no winds of temptation or confusion from the culture, no famines of not feeling His presence, no demon or power in hell will ever shake us out of being in love with Him. Amen.
In His Service,
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