15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
(Ephesians 1:15-19a NIV)
In verses 3 through 14, The Apostle Paul laid out God’s plan for the ages, from eternity past to eternity future. And just one trivia note that I forgot to mention yesterday…verses 3 through 14 in the original Greek is all one sentence!
Now Paul takes a breath after his twelve-verse single-sentence oratory, and prays for the Ephesian church.
First, Paul thanks the Lord for the Ephesians, specifically for the reports of their faith in the Lord, and for their love for God’s people. The Ephesians were, to Paul’s delight, following Jesus’ command in Matthew 22:34-40 to love God and love others.
Next, Paul goes on to pray for the Ephesians, to lift his requests up before the Lord on their behalf. And what did Paul pray on behalf of the Ephesians?
- For God’s Holy Spirit to give them wisdom and revelation, so they may know Him better
- For God’s enlightenment of the Ephesians, to know:
- the hope of their calling
- the inheritance they have in Christ
- the power He has given them to live for Him
Paul had just finished laying out God’s plan for the ages for the Ephesians, and now he prays that God would help them understand all that these truths entail. Paul’s prayer sounds simple enough, but it is deeply profound. Listen as Paul explains a similar thought in his first letter to the Corinthian church:
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NIV)
Paul was asking that God reveal His heart and thoughts to the Ephesian church. This was not just what was “top of mind” or “current musings” of God, but rather, Paul is asking God to reveal the implications of His “big picture” plan to the Ephesian church, truths that God had not revealed to anyone else throughout history.
Was this some kind of “special knowledge”, some secret that no one else was supposed to know, or could know? Not at all. Rather, this was God’s plan for the world, revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. Earthly rulers had no idea how all this worked, as God had hidden it from them so they would not use this information to their selfish advantage.
And was Paul’s prayer specifically for the Ephesian church? Yes, in the fact that Paul addressed them via this letter, and no, in the reality that this could have been written to us in our day as well.
May we, like Paul, prayerfully seek God’s wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment, not for the sake of the knowledge itself, but rather, for our hearts to be completely committed to Christ, and to fully live out our calling in Him.