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Ephesians 3:14–21 NKJV
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
This is the second prayer in Ephesians so far.
The first in 1:15-23
Is for wisdom, revelation and knowledge.
In both cases Paul follows his teaching of truth with prayer for his readers. This is because Paul knows that hearing the truth is not enough, they must also have ears to hears. He knows that for the truth to have its desired effect God must do the work.
1 Corinthians 3:6–9 NKJV
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
Understanding this is of utmost importance in the work of evangelism. When you share the Gospel with a person you are only sowing seed, if they accept Christ then you have reaped a harvest, but it is God alone who give the increase. So we should saturate our words with prayer that they will take root in good soil and produce fruit and always give God the glory because He is the one who does the work. They same is true of discipleship, teaching, and preaching. If anything is accomplished it is the work of God.
We can learn a lot about prayer and how we should pray from looking at the prayers of the Bible. We often find ourselves praying too small. We pray for health, finances, relationships etc. But when we look at the prayers that Paul prays for the Ephesians we see prayers for wisdom, revelation and knowledge of God. that they would be strengthened with might through the Spirit in the inner man, that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith, that they would be rooted and grounded in love and to be able to comprehend the love of Christ. And that they would be filled with all the fullness of God.
This is the kind of praying that comes from being awake to the spiritual battles that are going on. We need spiritual strength, faith, knowledge of God and of the love of Christ. We need to be filled with the fulness of God.
Paul begins in this passage with...
“For this reason”
For what reason?
In verse 1 of chapter 3 Paul began with for this reason after which he paused to explain his ministry as a prisoner and how it was for the glory of this predominately Gentile church and why they should not lose heart at his tribulations.
So the question is the reason for Paul’s prayer based on what he has just said in chapter 3 or is it what he said before chapter 3. I think it’s safe to say that it is both.
In chapter 2 Paul has been teaching this profound mystery that God through Christ Jesus has broken down the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles and has made from the two one people. He has ingrafted the Gentile believers into the tree of God’s people making them fellow citizens and members of the same family. He has built us together for a dwelling place for God. And because he has brought the Gentiles near with His people we all have access by one Spirit to the Father.
In Chapter three Paul has reiterated this same message which he says was revealed to him by the Spirit. And he concludes the same wonderful truth that in Christ we have bold and free access to God the Father.
So for the reason of his desire that his readers truely hear and receive this teaching and a way that will transform them and because he also has bold access to the Father through Christ, Paul bows his knees in prayer.
Paul’s posture in prayer is to bow his knees. The Bible speaks of people standing or sitting or even lying down when praying and it is actually rare in the Bible for people to bow their knees in prayer. We can pray to God at any time and in any posture, however, sometimes in earnest prayer it is good to bow our knees. Our posture is part of our communication and when we physically bow our knees it often helps our mental and spiritual attitude towards God to be submissive and humbled.
Who Paul prays to…

To The Father According to the Riches of His Glory

Ephesians 3:14 NKJV
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul had already referred to God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the opening of this letter. It is because His is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that we who are in Christ can now call Him our Father.
It was Christ that taught us to follow His example and pray to our Father which is in heaven. This is one of the greatest spiritual blessing in heavenly places that we have in Christ. God predestined us for adoption.
Ephesians 3:15 NKJV
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
The original language for the words whole family could be translated every family or whole family. Some translations have rendered it every family. However, I believe in the context that it should be whole family. Paul has just taught that we are now both Jews and Gentiles one family.
Ephesians 2:19 NKJV
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:15–16 NKJV
15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
So the idea is that there is one whole family, one people of God, So that in Christ I am of the same family as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Moses, and David. I have been ingrafted into the people of God.
And this family derives its name from God our Father. We are all children of God.
It is Biblically incorrect to call all people God’s children. All people are created by God but not all people are His children. Only those who are in Christ.
Romans 8:14–16 NKJV
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Paul prays that the Father would grant the Ephesians, according to the abundance of the riches of His glory.
The unsearchable riches of Christ in vs 8. or all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ which He blesses us with to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Strengthened With Might Through His Spirit

So Paul is praying for strength for the Ephesians but not for physical strength. It is strength with might or power. Specifically miraculous power. This is not strength which comes from within. This is confirmed in that it is through His Spirit or the Holy Spirit. So this is a powerful miraculous strength in the inner man.
What is the inner man?
2 Corinthians 4:16–17 NKJV
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
So he is praying for spiritual strength in the inner man

That Christ may Dwell in Your Hearts Through Faith

So Paul is praying here to Christians and he prays that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. Doesn’t Christ already dwell in the hearts through faith?
Romans 8:9 NKJV
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Through faith.
I believe that Paul is praying that they would have more faith. We need our faith to be increased. All of the riches of His grace are like cheques that we have been given but until they are cashed they will be not be useful.
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins but if we continue not believing that our sins are forgiven then we will still live as though they are not.
Ephesians 1:13–14 NKJV
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
But what good is the guarantee if we don’t believe we have it?
Ephesians 2:18 NKJV
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Romans 6:6–7 NKJV
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:11–14 NKJV
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
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