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28th July 2023


The Mystery and Marvel of Christian Maturity

Prayer expresses desire & in this great prayer of Paul he expresses his deep desire for each one of God’s children.
Paul is praying for the reconciling work of Christ to be fulfilled through the ongoing ministry & power of the Spirit.
That means the filling up & overflowing of God’s love in every believer & all the family of God.
It is heartfelt prayer, petition & intercession that the Father’s true & full purpose is worked out completely in every Christian.
To conclude this TFD series we will today explore some more thoughts around this great prayer.


For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19


Paul prays by bowing his knees before the Father. The normal Jewish posture for prayer was standing.
Bowing the knees & kneeling before the Lord expresses an earnestness, urgency & serious intent.
Scripture does not lay down a script rule to follow here & many postures are appropriate in prayer.
Kneeling however is noted in Scripture several times where situations of crisis & great urgency arise.
Ezra confessing Israel’s sins (Ezra 9:5), Jesus in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:41-44) & Stephen facing martyrdom (Acts 7:59-60).
Being passionate & deeply moved in prayer is the lesson for us here. Fervency as James puts it (James 5:16).
If we desire & expect our prayers to move the Lord then surely they have to move us!! SELAH

Paul prays that out of God’s grace he would supply gifts & strength for the people of God.
Paul has no doubt whatsoever about the abundant inexhaustible resources that are available to the believer.
He is also confident & certain that the prayer will be answered successfully (Ephesians 3:20-21).
The substance of this great fervent prayer is that believers might be maturing in 4 ways:

  1. Strengthened with might – that Christ may inhabit us & the Spirit fortify (reinforce) us in the inner man (heart & spirit)
  2. Rooted & grounded in love – deep roots & firm foundations in the inexhaustible & immeasurable love of Christ
  3. Increasing in knowledge – power to comprehend & experience the fullness of Christ’s love nb – with all the saints (together as family)
  4. Filled with the fullness of God – growth unto the fullness of God. The process of being perfected in love & holiness.

What a powerful & passionate prayer for his fellow believers. SELAH

As John Stott puts it Paul audaciously prayed that the Ephesian believers may be given the strength of the Spirit and the ruling presence of Christ, the rooting of their lives in love, the knowledge of Christ’s love in all its dimensions, and the fullness of God himself.
It is a bold & breath-taking prayer which Paul clearly expected to be fulfilled.
That is because Paul was deeply convinced of God’s infinite ability to work above & beyond our prayers.
That is God’s power, the power of the resurrection, at work within us (Ephesians 3:20)!! So, so good.
This is the miraculous power of God ever at work energising the individual Christian & the Church, which is the Body of Christ.
That mighty power & infinite resource is always available to you & to me. Hallelujah!!

For Reflection

  • How many differing postures do I adopt in prayer & how fervent is my prayer life?
  • Do I carry a confidence & certainty of being heard & answered in my prayers?
  • Meditate upon the place & power of prayer in the life of the believer.

A song related to this theme:


Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Thank you that You are the perfect Father of an eternal family,
That You are perfect in love & holiness & in all of Your ways.
Jesus thank you that You inhabit my heart & life,
Draw me closer to You & make me more like You.
Holy Spirit fortify me in the love of Christ & keep conforming me to His image,
Give me fervency & passion to pray alongside a deep confidence & conviction that the Father will answer my prayers.
These things I ask In Jesus mighty Name.
Amen

Written by Gareth Jones

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