Praying Ephesians 1:15-20

Praying the very words of Scripture is an amazing way to bring depth to your prayer life. Read the word of God, think about it, meditate on it, soak in it, then pray…read some more…lather, rinse, repeat. (I guess that’s a reference that only those with a head full of hair may get…)

Don Whitney has written well about this in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, in his chapter on prayer.
“…there should be a smooth, almost unnoticeable transition between Scripture input and prayer output so that we move even closer to God at those moments.”

This morning, even though it wasn’t on my daily reading play (I strayed from routine! Ah!) I found my mind thinking of Ephesians 1:15-20 as I was praying:

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

(Ephesians 1:15-20 ESV)

What is Paul praying for here? And what can we meditate on and pray for as well? That the eyes of our hearts, in other words that we would know and sincerely understand in the core of who we are – we would know with certainty:

– the HOPE to which God has called us, as believers and followers and worshipers of Jesus. Jesus brings hope beyond what is going on today. Hope of real lasting heart change to glorify him and hope for tomorrow to be with him forever free from sin and death.

– the RICHES of this glorious INHERITANCE of the saints – what we have now as our assurance of God working in us to make us more like Jesus by his grace for his glory and our ultimate good…and also our eternal home with him in Heaven. Also there is the sense here of God enjoying us, how precious his children are to him.

– the immeasurable greatness of His POWER toward us who believe. Christ has done the work perfectly, it is completed on our behalf. The Holy Spirit now resides within us giving us power to live God-pleasing lives.

Why is all this possible – because of Jesus – what God “worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly places.”

Unity of the Faith

In Ephesians today – got stuck at Chapter 4:11-16.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
(Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)

  • He gave: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (Pastors/Elders), teachers – why?
    • equip the saints for the work of ministry
    • building up of the body of Christ (the church) – What does that look like?
      • unity of the faith
      • knowledge of the Son of God (Jesus Christ. And knowledge from the Bible, not ours)
      • mature manhood (mature, Godly men and women)
      • looking like Jesus Christ
      • this protects us from false doctrine
      • and it all leads to love

There has been much talk about unity lately…and much talk about doctrine.  So when I read this passage I thought it was pretty interesting how Paul brings it all together.  There is unity to be had in knowledge of Jesus (correct Biblical doctrine); maturity; Christ-likeness and in the end love.  This is what the body should look like.

ESV study note here is right on: “some people think that the learning of doctrine ins inherently divisive, but it is people who divide the church, whereas the knowledge of the Son of God (both knowing Christ personally and understanding all that he did and taught) is edifying and brings about “mature manhood” when set forth in love.  The work of the gifted ministers was to proclaim and teach the word centered on Christ rather than on speculative or eccentric teaching of their own.”

So what does this all mean?

Correct, balanced, Biblical teaching that brings the full counsel of God’s word, centered on the Gospel brings about unity and maturity, not division.