Our devotional in Paul’s prayers and prayer reports continues!
Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now 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, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
In the middle of Ephesians, having shown how God’s plan of redemption brings together both Jews and Gentiles in salvation by grace through faith, forming the church, Paul breaks into prayer again. He reports that he prays on his knees before the God of the whole universe and asks that out of His immense resources the Ephesians might be strengthened with power in their inner being through the Holy Spirit. The focus on heart reality rather than the resolution of external circumstances continues, as does the truth that this heart work can only be done by the Holy Spirit, not by us.
Paul then prays that, having been strengthened by the Holy Spirit, our hearts may become a dwelling place for Christ – by faith. Jesus promised ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ and ‘behold I am with you always to the very end of the age.’ One of the great truths of our faith is ‘Immanuel’ – God with us. The incarnation, suffering and resurrection of Jesus makes it possible for God to be with us, at a heart and soul level. Jesus is with us now, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Not a bad thing to pray for ourselves or for others – that our hearts and our faith might be strengthened to take hold of this reality. More tomorrow.
I looked for a Youtube version of “Come Down, O Love Divine” which fits both the part of this prayer we’ve looked at today and the part we’ll look at tomorrow. But there is not a good version. So here is a link to the audio, and lyrics:
Come Down, O Love Divine
Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far out-pass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.