By this point in Paul’s journey he’s finally made it to Rome! One problem, he’s still in prison… BUT! This gives Paul ample opportunity to write letters to the churches he started during his other missionary journeys. It’s been seven long years since Paul was in Ephesus, basking in the glow of a three year revival, so Paul takes time to write a letter back to the church there. His goal is not only to encourage them, but he also wants to make sure they’re staying rooted in the teaching they learned while he was there. While reading this letter together, we will see that some of Paul’s concepts are becoming more honed (i.e. Armor of God in Ephesians 6), we’ll also see a patter emerge in this letter: He’ll start with an overview of God’s history, beginning in the past, moving to the present, and then looking to the future. So, like I say every so often to my congregation, “buckle your seatbelt,” welcome to Ephesians.
Prayer for Wisdom
After Paul’s opening words and greetings, he begins to share the details of his prayer for the church in Ephesus.
Ephesians 1:15-19 (NLT) 15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.
Look at how/what Paul prayed for:
- (v. 16) prayed non stop, thanking God for them
- (v. 16) prayed constantly
- (v. 17) prayed for spiritual wisdom and insight
- (v. 18) prayed that there hearts would be flooded with light
- (v. 19) prayed for them to understand God’s incredible greatness
Look at what Paul didn’t pray for:
Equally important isn’t just what Paul prayed for, but what he didn’t pray for. Notice that Paul didn’t pray for a change in their circumstance. What’s interesting to note is that Christians in Ephesus are experiencing incredible persecution and suffering. Having this information, look back and read the passage above from a persecuted Christians perspective.
Note in my Bible: “Paul didn’t pray for safety or a change to their circumstances, instead, he prayed for: (v. 17) spiritual wisdom, (v. 18) to understand the confident hope, (v. 19) God’s incredible greatness.”
There are times in scripture we see people praying for a change to their circumstance, there are other times we see people accepting their circumstance and praying for God’s wisdom and insight. Whatever the case for you today, there’s one things that consistent… Prayer! I said this the other day in my message, “I’m not God, but I can tell you how He’ll answer the prayer you never pray every time.”