When I was working in the slums of Nairobi I witnessed many sad events. I met people who had nothing. Many suffered greatly. I often felt helpless as people came up to me seeking help. It was overwhelming. I remember crying out to the Lord and asking Him what I should do. His still quiet voice came to me one day when I was overwhelmed and said ‘Be like Jesus to them’. I was asked to love these people like Jesus would. How could I possibly do this? So I called out to God again and asked Him to fill me with this love. He did and each day I went into the slums love seemed to flow and people’s needs were somehow met. I share this with you simply because I thought that I had nothing to offer. And it was true! In my own strength, the poverty and sadness was all consuming. However, with God anything is possible even with a ‘nobody’ like me.
This third prayer of Paul’s under investigation this morning is a most amazing prayer. It is a prayer about power. Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians to have God’s power to understand and grasp the immeasurable love of Christ. He wants the Ephesians Christians (and us too) to know something that surpasses knowledge! Incredible! And what he wants us to grasp is God’s true heart and the depth of His love that flows from His heart. Just prior to this prayer Paul reveals something that had been hidden since the dawn of time. It had been a great mystery until the Holy Spirit opened Paul’s eyes to see something most glorious. What was revealed to Paul was the incredible power and majesty of God at work through Jesus. It was revealed to Paul that God’s manifold wisdom and power is shown to the spiritual powers and authorities in the heavenly reals in how He unites people of all nations, Jew and Gentile, together as one under Jesus! This is the demonstration of great power and great love!
Paul petitions the Lord in three ways for the Ephesian Christians. Firstly for them to be strengthened with power in their inner being. In other words for them to become holy and like-minded with God’s thoughts and plans concerning love. The second petition is for them to grasp the limitless dimension of Christ’s love and the power behind this. The third petition is a call for them to bring glory to God in all they do. This is to be the result of all their prayers – that God be praised and glorified. It makes me wonder whether my prayers have this as the prime aim of my petitions. Perhaps we need to have our prayers ‘reformed’ to better reflect Paul’s heart as we pray for those we care for and love.