Ephesians 3:16–19b (NIV) “16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—”
The above verses are a portion from Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus found in Ephesians 3:14-21. I’ve been reading and meditating over this prayer because it’s the theme verse of our college group at EvergreenSGV and we are also focusing on and teaching at the Tuesday summer worship nights. (By the way, these college worship nights will continue every Tuesday night in the MPR from 7:30pm to 9:30pm until August 15th. Come out and join us!) As I have read this prayer over and over again and have prayed it for the church and loved ones, I’ve begun to better understand what Paul is praying for. In the prayer, Paul asks God that out of his glorious wealth (which is pretty much the whole universe and all that he is), he would strengthen the believers in Ephesus with power through his Spirit so that two main things might happen in their lives. What are those two things? One is that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith and the second is that they might be able to grasp and know the vast and limitless love of Christ. However, why would they, or you and I, need God’s gloriously supplied power by his Spirit to enable us to do these two things? Well, the obvious answer is that because without God’s empowerment we would not be able to 1 - have Christ dwell in our hearts through faith nor 2 - be able to grasp and know the immeasurable love of Christ. I have a large Pepper tree in my front yard and I didn’t understand how much effort and work it would take to trim that tree until one year I decided to save money and do it myself. After about one hour of snipping, clipping and sawing off branches, I was done. I wasn’t done with trimming; I was done with trying! On that day, sweaty and exhausted with a kink in my neck from constantly looking up, I came to truly comprehend how difficult and demanding it was to trim my Pepper tree. I share this Pepper tree trimming story because in order for us to appreciate Paul’s prayer and to better understand why we need God’s Spirit empowered strength, we first need to comprehend how difficult it is to have Christ dwell in our hearts through faith and how demanding it is for us to grasp and know the infinite love of Christ. Until we truly comprehend how formidable these two things are to do, we will not be able to wholeheartedly pray Paul’s prayer for one another. I will continue this topic in my next article.