Remember where you came from.
Pray for spiritual knowledge. Remember how utterly unlovable you had been. Remember how worthless your life had become because of your own sin. Remember how unworthy you were to be called a child of God or to even hope to be saved from the most horrible of deaths, a death that ends in hell. God in Christ reached out to you and brought you into his church. He made you his family. To fully comprehend the love God has shown to you is impossible. He says it “surpasses knowledge.” But if we could make a beginning to appreciate the greatness of Christ’s love, we will be growing in our knowledge of God’s plan of salvation. What blessings you enjoy, as you begin to appreciate the difference Christ has made in your life now and eternally.
“Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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 saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
A person has to wonder how many people at that wedding in Cana realized what Jesus had done. He gave everyone a sign that day that he is the Christ, the world’s only Savior. But it was a wedding. People were celebrating. I would imagine that the thoughts of most were not focused on spiritual matters.
It happens like that for all of us. There are snapshots in time when spectacular things are happening in our lives and we are unaware. Examples would be the working of the Holy Spirit quietly, yet efficiently, in the hearts of each of you as you meditate on the Word of God today. This may not be a day you will remember forever as a day in which you saw God do something spectacular. Yet he has! And he continues to do the spectacular by the working of his Word in human hearts.
The first three chapters of Ephesians are the doctrinal portion of his letter. St. Paul has taught the Ephesians about God’s eternal election in Christ. He has taught them about salvation by grace through faith. He has taught them about the mystery of salvation that has brought Jew and Gentile together into the body of Christ. Now he desires to offer a prayer that God would lead all of us to better appreciate what God has done for us. Therefore, let us learn today to
Pray for one another
pray for spiritual strength
pray for spiritual knowledge
pray for spiritual fullness
Paul reminds us that the reason we all call God our Father is that we are members of his family – children of God. We who live by faith in Jesus are united with our brothers and sisters who now live in glory in heaven. When we pray to our heavenly Father, we are bringing the whole Christian church together in prayer! By such a simple act, the great God who created the whole world and has redeemed and saved you gives us his undivided attention. So, what do you want to talk to him about? Learn how to pray for one another from St. Paul’s example.
Pray for spiritual strength. His prayer goes like this: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Paul knows and confesses that this spiritual strength comes only through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works powerfully on the “inner being.” This inner being is known as the new man of faith that lives within you. The new man of faith wants what God wants. This new man of faith grows as the Spirit continues to work in your heart through Word and sacrament. You will become surer and more confident of your salvation as you grow in faith.
This is the real work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said as much on the night he was betrayed when he spoke these words, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (Jn 15:26). The Spirit’s main work is advancing the message of Christ by bringing people to faith in Christ and then strengthening that faith. So, St. Paul asks God to send his Holy Spirit through the gospel to strengthen us “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
There is so much more we could talk to our heavenly about than our cold and flu symptoms, our desire for more money, or peace and harmony in the world. Think bigger than that! Do you realize that as the Holy Spirit is strengthening faith, God can accomplish amazing things among us? Where there is faith, there is a desire to put that faith into action. The more people grow in their faith, the more we can do as the people of God. There is no better time than right now to realize that we need one another’s prayers. Specifically, our friends here at Prince of Peace need spiritual strength! Pray for one another.
Pray also for spiritual knowledge. As people grow spiritually, they are better equipped to comprehend the greatness of Christ’s love for them. Listen to this prayer, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide an d long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”
“Rooted” in love has the idea of being alive and vibrant, poised to grow like a plant rooted in good soil. “Established” in love has the idea of being founded upon a solid base, namely the love that Christ has shown to you. Think about Christ’s amazing love for you. When you were dead in your trespasses and sins, God sent his Son to suffer and die to pay for your sins. In this way God made you alive and brought you in to his church!
You have experienced that love in your own heart. Like the Ephesians you have a lot to learn about that love. Pray for one another. Let us pray that God would enable all of us to begin to grasp the length and breadth the height and depth – the full extent of God’s love! Christ’s love stretches out in every direction to embrace the whole world, especially you! The whole world is blanketed by Christ’s love!
Pray for spiritual knowledge. Remember how utterly unlovable you had been. Remember how worthless your life had become because of your own sin. Remember how unworthy you were to be called a child of God or to even hope to be saved from the most horrible of deaths, a death that ends in hell. God in Christ reached out to you and brought you in to his church. He made you his family. To fully comprehend the love God has shown to you is impossible. He says it “surpasses knowledge.” But if we could make a beginning to appreciate the greatness of Christ’s love, we will be growing in our knowledge of God’s plan of salvation. What blessings you enjoy, as you begin to appreciate the difference Christ has made in your life now and eternally.
Pray for each other. Pray for spiritual fullness. St. Paul wrote, “(pray) that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Only God has total fullness. He created everything. He owns everything. He controls everything. Yet, he allows us to come boldly to him in prayer. He allows us to pray for really big things. By fullness, St. Paul asks that God might fill our hearts to overflowing with all the good things that God gives to his church. Pray that God would so bless one another here this morning.
Imagine what spiritual gifts God has in store to give to us as we go about his work. We are one family and we work best when we work together. Don’t be selfish with your prayers. Pray for each other.
Remember to whom it is that you are praying. St. Paul concludes this pray with a doxology that acknowledges the greatness of God. With this great power he brought us to faith and made us members of Christ’s church. That power is very much like the power that he describes in the first chapter as the power God used to raise Christ from the dead (1:19-20). God has the power to do even greater things than you could dream of asking. Nothing is impossible with God. St. Paul includes an amen to express his confidence that God does hear and answer our prayers. We can know that God always hears and answers our prayers for Jesus’ sake!
So, bow your heads with me and let us pray for one another. Little will you remember that today God has done something no less awesome than changing water in to wine. He has strengthened the faith of his church by planting the message of the gospel in our hearts. He has increased your knowledge of his great love for you. He has given you so many spiritual gifts to use for the work of his kingdom that you can be sure God’s church will n