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Prayer in the Book of Ephesians

Texts: Ephesians 1:15-19a; 3:14-19; 6:18-20

This morning we are going to continue our study in the Book of Ephesians.

As I was reading Ephesians 3 this week I noticed for the 2nd time that Paul writes of how he was praying for the Ephesians. In Ephesians 6 Paul concludes by asking for prayer. As I thought about this it made me think about my prayer life, our prayer life as a church and of the Scriptures exhortation to us to be a people of prayer.

Some Bible verses on prayer

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" Colossians 4:2

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16

"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3

"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it" John 14:13-14

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44

"The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth." Psalm 145:18

"Pray without ceasing" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer in the Book of Ephesians

INSTANCE #1 Ephesians 1:15-19a

Following Paul's discourse of the blessings that we have in Christ. The blessings of.....

1. Being chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight
2. Our being predestined for adoption into the family of God through Jesus Christ
3. Our being redeemed from our sin and the judgment to come through and by the blood of Christ who has forgiven us of all our sins
4. Our having knowledge of the will and plans of God- a plan culminating in all things being brought together in and under Christ
5. Our being made trophies of His amazing grace- despite our sinfulness, despite how deserving we are of the judgment of God
6. Our being given the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our salvation and place in Heaven

Following Paul's laying out for us these amazing blessings that we have in Christ he prays

"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe"

SOME THOUGHTS

1. The Ephesian believers were on Paul's mind. He remembered the Ephesians in his prayers- We are to do this for each other! v.15-16

We are to give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to intercede for each other- praying for the needs of each other. We are to pray about the sins that we know the other struggles with- that they might have victory in Christ.

To pray for one another is to love one another.

2. Paul prayed that the Holy Spirit would give the Ephesians wisdom and revelation so that they would know God better and deeper and more. Our desire ought to be to know God better.

How to know God better? God's Word gives us insight. Our experiences with God (when thought of properly) help us to know God better. As for knowing God more, The Holy Spirit is indispensable to all of this for 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 says; "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" - the things God has prepared for those who love him-10these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God"

3. Paul's desire was that the Ephesians might grasp and hold on to the amazing blessings that we have in Christ v.18

Sometimes we take things for granted.

Sometimes we don't realize what we have and the value of the thing we have (This is what makes garage sales amazing- finding treasures that others think are junk).

Sometimes we don't take the time we ought to think on the things and blessings of God that are ours in Christ

4. Lastly -as it regards Ephesians 1- Paul prayed that the Ephesians might realize that the power of God -the same power that raised Christ from the dead- is available to us

By God's power the dead have been raised, the sick have been healed, the world was made, nations have fallen, rivers have been parted, demons have been cast out, lives have been turned around, families have been restored, so called impossible things have happened and yet we are prone to doing things or trying to do things in our own strength. Our first attempts at doing things are usually with the tools and means that we have fashioned. Meanwhile the power of God is available to us to call upon.

Nothing is too hard for God. The same Holy Spirit who indwelt, who led, who empowered Christ, indwells us.

As we have been learning "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

Our responsibility- to wait up and to call upon God in faith and in trust while stepping out and obeying Him

Prayer in the Book of Ephesians

INSTANCE #2 Ephesians 3:14-19

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every 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 Lord's holy people, 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."

A few more things about prayer

1. Note Paul's posture- kneeling v.14

When we pray we often close our eyes (so we can concentrate and not be distracted). We pray when lying in bed, in the shower, in the car, while on walks, on the couch, at the table, and in all sorts of places. Not very often do we go into our room, close the door and kneel down.

Kneeling is a physical sign of surrender and submission to. Kneeling is a physical sign of worship.

It seems that at times this is something we should do- that we might get our heart and attitude aligned aright before God- our King, our Creator.

2. Note Paul's concern for the spiritual well being and strength of the Ephesians faith in Christ v.16

"inner being"

Our flesh is growing weaker. Physically we are dying. The passage of time does not treat our bodies well. Yet note the concern of Paul's prayer - the inner being. Our hearts, our soul, our faith. This can grow stronger and more vibrant over time-- it is meant to in Christ.

3. Note also the end that Paul has in mind "That Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith" Paul's desire is that we might have an abiding sense of presence of Christ v.17a

Jesus is with us by His Spirit

4. Note how Paul prays that the Ephesians might know the depths of God's love- such is a prayer for us- that we might too know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ

As it regards the love of God for us- we are told much

John 3:16 says; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

1 John 4:10 says; "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

In Romans 8:35, 37-39 Paul, by the Spirit of God, writes "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?.... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Despite these great declarations of God's love and the supreme sacrifice of God's love for us we don't have a great grasp of how much God loves us.

Sometimes we doubt that God loves us
. Sometimes we even think that God hates us. This is why Paul prays as he does. This is why we are to pray and contemplate and meditate upon the love of God for us -for we are loved by Him more than we know.

The point of us grasping the love of God for us is that we might live out His love towards others. As we have been forgiven so are we to forgive. As we are loved, so are we to love


Prayer in the Book of Ephesians

INSTANCE #3 Ephesians 6:18-20

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Some things to note as it regards prayer from Ephesians 6:18-20

1. Our prayers are to be in the Spirit and in step with the Spirit
2. We are to pray all kinds of prayers (petition, confession, intercession, thanks, praise)
3. We are to pray for others- not just ourselves. This is part of caring and loving each other
4. We need to pray that God would give us opportunities to proclaim Christ and Him as the only Savior to our friends, co-workers, family, neighbors. We need to pray for courage for ourselves and for each other.


CONCLUSION: SOME TIPS AS IT REGARDS PRAYER

Some assurances: God answers prayer. God hears our prayers -we to cast all of our cares upon the Lord for He cares for us. Prayer is not a waste of time

-Our prayers are to be regular and constant
-We ought to see prayer as a dynamic conversation and not as an "I want" program (which will only lead us to disappointment)
-Balance in prayer- adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication
-Thy will be done!
-Getting our prayers in line with the heart of God is key
-Unconfessed sin hinders our prayers
-Some prayers we need to learn and practice include "Thank you for...", "Help me to love -insert persons name" "Help me to forgive- insert persons name" "I am sorry for- name the sin" Give me wisdom. Help me to share Christ and His Gospel with (insert person's name) "Help me to grasp your love for me" "Help me to understand your Word" "Help me to understand the blessings that are mine in Christ"