PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS
A. Ephesians 1:15-23
B. The various prayers in the Bible are both informative and inspirational, and therefore, are profitable for us to read and study along with the rest of the Scriptures.
1. This is very true concerning this prayer of Paul
2. Indeed, some of the deepest, richest, and most powerful statements from the pen of Paul were in the form of a prayer.
3. The one before us now is that kind of profound passage – full of joyous spiritual truths
C. It is interesting to notice that verses 15-23 comprise ONE complex sentence containing 169 words.
D. Paul’s Prayer can be outlined in this manner:
1. The occasion for the prayer (v. 15)
2. The substance of the prayer (vs. 16-19a)
3. The expansion of the prayer (vs. 19b-23)
A. THE OCCASION OF THE PRAYER (V. 15)
1. “For this cause” of “wherefore” (KJV)
a. This is a reference to the preceding verses
b. Paul prays for his readers because they heard and obeyed the gospel and were sealed with the Holy Spirit
2. Paul tells them that he was not the only one that had heard of their spirituality – but others as well.
a. Paul was very thankful for their devotion to the Lord and His will
b. Paul was not only thankful for their faithfulness, but was thankful for their love shown to all the saints.
1) Consider these words of Jesus … Matthew 25:40
2) Our Love for the Lord must also be shown in our love for the brethren.
3) John 13:35
4) 1 John 3:18 … true love is seen in action
c. Notice they loved “all the saints”
1) This word “all” does not permit any distinction
2) We are to love the rich as the poor, the wise as the unwise, white as well other races – all includes all!
B. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE PRAYER (vs. 16-19a)
1. The substance of the prayer is two-fold:
a. Thanksgiving for them (16)
b. Wish for them (vs. 17-19a)
2. Thanksgiving for them (v. 16)
a. Paul said he “ceased not to give thanks” for them
1) This tells us a little about Paul’s prayer life
2) He was constantly concerned about the welfare of fellow Christians – this was seen in his prayer life
3) We are familiar with 1 Thessalonians 5:17
4) Does this mean that we are to pray 24 hours a day?
5) It means that we are to be involved in frequent and regular pray, and this is to be done in behalf of fellow Christians
b. All the great men and women of the Bible were great in prayer
c. A remarkable feature of Paul’s life was the frequency of his thanksgiving, indicating a joyous state of mind, and always striving to perpetuate the same
3. Wish for them (vs. 17-19a)
a. Paul wished for them to receive “a spirit of wisdom” (v. 17)
1) This has reference to a spiritual attitude and character of wisdom
2) It is not surprising that Paul would pray for such … for notice James 1:5
3) We gain such characteristics when we are dependant of Christ and obedient to His will; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24
b. Paul wished for them to receive “revelation in the knowledge” God (v. 17)
1) This is not mere knowledge (gnosis), but has reference to full and complete knowledge (epignosis)
2) This is a deeper insight of understanding the affairs of God
3) This greater height of understanding and spirituality comes only when we follow the prescribed course – prayer, study, obedience
c. The reason that Paul wants them to have this wisdom and knowledge is that they might have “the eyes of your heart enlightened” (v. 18)
1) The heart is the seat of our emotion, intellect, and will
2) What ever is in one’s heart is that which rules his conduct
3) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Pro. 23:7)
d. Paul now proceeds to tell them the things he wishes their eyes of understanding to behold:
1) “The hope of his calling” (v. 18) … i.e. the hope which God’s calling inspires
a) The “called of God” are those who have obeyed
b) This hope is not just a wishing for, but is an earnest expectation of what is to come, a hope that leads to greater heights of spirituality.
2) “The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (v. 18)
a) We cannot fully understand and appreciate the inheritance that is given Christians until our minds are enlightened.
b) In other words, the more you study – the more you can’t wait to get to heaven
c) All belongs to God and He will let us partake of this
blessed inheritance if we heed His call.
3) “The exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe” (v. 19)
a) Paul here has reference to the glorious state of believers, the exceeding greatness of God’s power which passes all difficulties
b) We as obedient believers have access to the throne of the all-knowing, all-powerful and eternal God.
4) One cannot fully appreciate and value all of this unless his eye of understanding is enlightened.
C. THE EXPANSION OF THE PRAYER (VS. 19-23)
1. God’s Power (v. 19b-21)
a. Paul now finishes his prayer by setting forth the infinite power of God shown in the resurrection of Christ.
b. Paul wants Christians to understand the “exceeding greatness of his power” (v. 19)
c. God’s power is made know in Christ, this power is made known by the fact that He:
1) “Raised him from the dead” (v. 20)
2) “Set him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (v. 20)
d. Jesus being seated on the right hand of God, what is said in verse 21 then naturally follows
1) There are different shades of meaning in all these words, but the central meaning is clear.
2) Jesus has ALL authority!
2. Christ’s Dominion (vs. 22-23)
a. “Put all things in subjection under his feet”
1) Jesus has all power and authority
2) Matthew 28:18
b. “Gave him to be head over all things to the church”
1) Christ is the head of the church not man
2) Ephesians 5:23
3) Acts 4:11-12
c. “Which is his body”
1) The church is the body … Colossians 1:18
2) It is Christ’s body because it belongs to Him, and He is the head of it
3) Just as the physical body takes orders from its head, so the same is true in the spiritual body
d. In closing Paul tells us in verse 23 that in Christ is manifested all things
e. Jesus is filled with all the fullness of the Godhead and bestows the fullness of his blessings on his body
A. As we ponder Paul’s prayer, let us notice that it calls for clear thinking in wisdom, knowledge and understanding about the content and meaning of our faith and future glory.
B. If affirms that Christ is the head of the church and has all authority.