Introduction: There is a legend about two angels who were sent to earth to gather up the prayers of men. One was to fill his basket with the petitions of mankind. The other was to gather their prayers of thanksgiving. Sometime later they went back to the Father’s house. One had a basket heaped high, and running over, with the innumerable petitions of men. The other returned with a sad and heavy heart, for his basket was almost empty. Paul was a praying man. The examples of his prayers are better for us to follow that any I hear in church.
I. Thanks vs.16
A. εὐχαριστέω: to express gratitude for benefits or blessings, to thank, thanksgiving, thankfulness.
B. To every church Paul writes to, and to most individuals, he begins his letter giving thanks to God for the church or man
C. For their faith in Jesus and their love for the holy ones
C. If you would give more time thanking God for the church at Central and less time complaining about how you don’t like something, the church would be better and so would you.
II. Knowing God vs. 17-20
A. Spirit of wisdom and revelation
1. Capital “S” or small “s”, both
2. James 1:5
3. Knowledge of God
4. Preaching and teaching may have several purposes, but the primary one is to impart knowledge
B. Eyes of your hearts enlightened
1. φωτίζω: to cause light to shine upon some object, in the sense of illuminating it, to illuminate, to shine upon. To cause something to be fully known by revealing clearly and in some detail, to make known, to make plain, to reveal, to bring to the light, to disclose, revelation.
2. “Eyes of your hearts” is metaphor meaning your inner being
3. Hope refers to the confidence of life eternal
4. “The riches of his glorious inheritance” is synonymous.
5. “His power in us”
a. ὑπερβάλλω: a degree which exceeds extraordinarily a point on an implied or overt scale of extent, extraordinary, extreme, supreme, far more, much greater, to a far greater degree.
b. μέγεθος: the upper range of a scale of extent, with the possible implication of importance in relevant contexts, great, greatly, greatness, to a great degree, intense, terrible.
c. “Great” at the end of vs. 19 could be miraculous
d. It is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead vs. 20
e. What is this power doing in us or for us? The context indicates it is there to bring about our eternal life with God. Don’t take this out of context!
III. Notice what Paul did not ask for:
A. Material possessions
B. Physical healing
C. Comfort for the body
D. Power and prestige
Conclusion: We need to be praying about eternal things instead of about this short physical life. “Having been banished, Cyprian (a Christian who lived about 250 A.D.) suffered martyrdom in Carthage in 258. When the sentence of death was read to him he said, ‘I heartily thank Almighty God who is pleased to set me free from the chains of the body.’” Can you pray that?