The verses above from Ephesians have been called, ‘the greatest intercessory prayer’. It was prayed during troubled times when it was costly to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. The recipients of the letter that contained the prayer needed to understand that they had been saved not only for their personal benefit, but also to live as Kingdom people in an alien world. It is interesting that almost every prayer in the New Testament is for the spiritual growth of believers. From this perspective they would stand firm in the face of hardship and persecution.
The above prayer was not a one-off, nor was it a fleeting thought. It was a passionate, perpetual, pleading with God for a small new church. This intercessory prayer contains two requests and two reasons for the requests. The first request is that they would be given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. It is addressed to ‘the glorious Father’, the Father of our Lord Jesus who was their Father. He delights to answer prayer. The reason for the request was so that these Christians, for whom Paul prayed, would know the Father better and love Him in return. An intimate relationship with this ‘glorious Father’ and the experience of His love and protection day by day would keep their faith strong in an alien world.
We also are needy people living in an insecure, alien world. We also can ask for wisdom and revelation, gifts of the Holy Spirit to keep us secure and immovable in our faith. Because our Father gave His Son to die for us, we are reminded that we, who have life through His death, should no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15).
The second petition is that ‘the eyes of their heart’ would be enlightened. They needed spiritual understanding in the heart. Head knowledge is informative, but heart knowledge transforms our lives. Heart knowledge would illuminate truth so they would know and understand their hope, their inheritance as children of God and God’s great power – the mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead and available to all believers. Hope is sure and certain. It gives us the assurance that God will not fail, and our ultimate destiny is heaven, where our final inheritance lies. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to live for Jesus and to witness for Him in a broken world.
I would like to suggest that this is a vital prayer for each of us individually to pray for ourselves, with passion and desire, so our faith doesn’t fail in a world where fear and anxiety are dominant emotions. People around us are looking for peace of heart and mind. We can offer them Jesus, the only giver of a peace that doesn’t depend upon circumstances, but on knowing and trusting Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, the Father of Jesus and my Father, I come before You today and ask You to open ‘the eyes of my heart’ that I will know You better. Thank You for Jesus, the giver of life and peace. Please give me passion and purpose and the power of the Holy Spirit as I seek to live for Your Kingdom purposes in a fractured world. I pray for Your honour and glory. Amen.
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