Prayer that Changes the World
I personally believe Ephesians is one of the most powerful books of the Bible because of the profound spiritual revelation Paul gives, followed by prayer for us as believers. His prayers are earnest, intense, and laser-focused, as Paul’s heart-desire was that we would understand and appropriate these Truths. While each prayer is life-changing, one that immediately began world-change is found in Chapter 3:16-19:
16I pray that out of His glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may 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, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Paul is very deliberate with regard to the order of this prayer. Far too many believers take for granted that Jesus has taken up residence in our hearts, but we don’t necessarily safeguard His throne in our hearts. Over time, the cares and crises of life creep in, sometimes completely dethroning and ousting Him, and at other times, relegating Him to a corner. The faith required to give Jesus the entire realm of our hearts is not something we can muster up. Instead, it requires the supernatural help of the all-powerful Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s work to grow our faith is God’s gift and blessing; loosed when we ask.
When we give Jesus dominion of our hearts, we have effectively received Love in its fullest form, as His Person is the very expression of Love. But this incredible Love is so far beyond anything we have experienced that we once again must have His supernatural power to begin to grasp its enormity. Paul proclaims that our faith in Christ roots and establishes us in this Love. But because the immensity of it goes so far beyond our understanding, many of us give up trying to appropriate what we don’t understand. Paul describes the power of God that can take us beyond our limited natural abilities in an earlier passage (1:19-20): “…His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.” Only in this way can finite minds begin to understand what actually surpasses human knowledge.
Then, our “knowing” is not just head-knowledge, but becomes heart-knowledge. King Solomon pinned, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Jesus added, “For out of the abundance of [a man’s] heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) So, the unfathomable love of Christ that fills our hearts because of His Presence should spill out on everyone around us in everything we do and say. What would happen in our homes, communities, nation, and world if Love (Jesus) was the guiding influence? Does the evidence of our lives indicate we are the hungry recipients of Paul’s prayer?