The Productive Prayer Life of Paul-Ephesians 1:15-23
Ephesians 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NASB95)
In Ephesians 1:17, “knowledge” is the noun epignosis which refers to an “experiential knowledge” of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To experience means, “to personally encounter, observe, or undergo something through a process.”
Thus, Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers personally encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit reveals Him in the pages of Scripture, through the process of experiential sanctification and fellowship with God.
To experience also means, “to have knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone.”
Thus, Paul’s prayer also requested that the Ephesian believers acquire knowledge or practical wisdom from observing and encountering the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit reveals Him in the Word of God.
Experience implies being affected by what or whom one meets.
Therefore, Paul prayed that the Ephesians be affected by the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the pages of Scripture.
Being affected by the Holy Spirit should have motivated the Ephesians to conform to the image of Christ, and thus fulfill the Father’s will for their lives.
In verse 17, “spirit of wisdom” is an attribute of God that is found in the Person of Christ and expressed in the Word of Christ, which is the mind and thinking of Christ.
God’s wisdom is based upon His omniscience and is His unique ability to devise a perfect plan to accomplish His goal to glorify Himself. The wisdom of God is expressed through creation.
Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.
The wisdom of God is expressed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which presents God’s provision of eternal salvation for the entire human race through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16).
God’s wisdom resides in the mind and thinking of Christ, which appears in the written Word of God.
Colossians 2:3 in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The believer acquires the wisdom of God by letting the Word of Christ richly dwell in his soul, which gives him the capacity to glorify God in whatever circumstance or relationship in life.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
James describes God’s wisdom.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
In Ephesians 1:17, “revelation” refers to the Holy Spirit’s ministry on behalf of the believer in revealing through the Scriptures, the love the Father has for the believer has revealed in Ephesians 1:3-14.
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul is praying that the Holy Spirit would enlighten the Ephesian believers so that they will know without a doubt what is the confident assurance of their election to privilege and their eternal inheritance that they possess because of their eternal union with Christ.
Every church age believer has the opportunity to receive his eternal inheritance if he fulfills the condition of being faithful executing the Father’s will for his life and which can be forfeited due to unfaithfulness.
Although the believer’s salvation cannot be merited but is received when a person expresses faith alone in Christ alone, the believer’s inheritance on the other hand is meritorious meaning he has to fulfill the condition of being faithfully obedient to the will of God till physical death or the rapture (i.e. resurrection of the Church).
In Ephesians 1:19, Paul is praying that the Holy Spirit would enlighten the Ephesian believers regarding the omnipotence of God and the exercise of that omnipotence through the resurrection, ascension and session of Christ that has been made available to them through their union with Christ, which gives them the capacity to overcome the devil, and the sin nature.
“Power” is the noun dunamis, which refers the inherent power of God and thus it refers to God’s attribute called omnipotence.
“Working” is the noun energeia, which means, “operative power” and is a reference to the exercise of God’s omnipotence through the resurrection, ascension and session of Christ.
“Strength” is the noun ischus, which means, “possession of power to overcome” and refers to the 100% availability of divine omnipotence that has been made available to every church age believer because of their union with the Lord Jesus Christ that provides them “the power to overcome” Satan and the kingdom of darkness and the old Adamic sin nature.
“Might” is the noun kratos, which means, “manifested power” and refers to the omnipotence of God that has been “manifested” in history through the resurrection, ascension and session of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“In Christ” in Ephesians 1:20 indicates that the Ephesian believer’s confidence, election, eternal inheritance and power to experience victory over the devil and the flesh are all found in their eternal union and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:20-22 teaches that the Father has demonstrated His omnipotence in history by promoting the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union to the highest ranking position in the church and His kingdom as a result of His obedience to the His will in going to the Cross to die for the sins of the entire world.
Paul wants the Ephesian believers to comprehend and be encouraged and make application in their own lives regarding their eternal union and identification with Christ as His body.