This sermon was based on Ephesians 3:14-21.
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer in the Trinity
- Paul is intentional in his references to ‘the Father’, ‘his Spirit’ and Christ. Reminding us who we are in relation to each part of God in the Trinity and the roles they have in our lives.
- Paul’s approach to prayer here demonstrates the power of the Gospel through the Trinity. It shows understanding of the position and interconnectedness of the trinity. Paul humbly approaches the throne, kneeling before the father and openly shares his devotion with us as we read. This is a great model for prayer – a reminder to believers in how to pray.
- Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when we pray we’re not just talking to our Father, but to Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the same time. Every single time you pray, no matter how far from the father you feel you might be, he’s right there with you through his Spirit in our inner being and Christ dwelling in your heart!
Prayer for Love
- When Paul starts his prayer, he recognises that this is a church of firmly founded believers. He talks of how they are “rooted and established in love”, but that their knowledge of God’s love for us is just a fraction of the whole picture.
- Paul challenges us to try and find the dimensions of God’s love for us: “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”. To “grasp” – suggests gaining a strong hold on this. The Width, Length, Height, Depth of God’s love, which is never ending and goes beyond the realms of understanding.
- There’s an encouragement here that no matter where we run to, we can’t escape God’s love. It surrounds us and enfolds us. It’s really easy to say and not easy to do, but when we go and seek out the edges of his love, we get a greater understanding of all those dimensions and ultimately end up closer to the centre.
Prayer for Strength
- At the point when Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus it was a major port in the Roman empire on the doorstep to Asia. They were at the edge of the Christian world and likely to be overrun by Asian heretics. Given the context that the church was in, Paul’s words were designed to encourage, strengthen and embolden them in their faith against their potential aggressors.
- Paul refers twice to the power and strength of God in the church: V16: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being”, V20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”.
- Today, more than ever this is relevant for us as Christians – in a world which places it’s value on the individual’s strength and ability, recognising our vulnerability and openly asking for help and guidance is seen as a weakness which is there to be exploited. There’s a real choice which Paul is placing before the Ephesians here – he’s calling them to be different to their surroundings and look to Jesus for their strength.