Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:14-16)
The Apostle Paul was a man of prayer. He recognized the great power that comes from prayer. He had just written that we have bold and confident access to God (v. 12). He then took advantage of that access and prayed. James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).
As Paul wrote about the great truths of the faith, he often inserted prayers. He asked God to enlighten the readers of his epistles and to strengthen them to both grasp and apply the truths that had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.
In the case of our passage today, Paul had been wiring about the mystery of Christ (v. 6) — how God had made the Gentiles fellow heirs and members of God’s family through the gospel. He wrote about the witness of the church to angelic beings (v. 10) and the fact that God has a eternal purpose which has been realized in Christ (v. 11). These are deep truths which cannot be comprehended without divine help. Thus Paul prays that his readers may be strengthened with power through God’s Spirit in their inner beings (v. 16).
Paul had also written these words of encouragement to the Ephesians: “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” (v. 13). I am sure the Ephesians were discouraged over the news that Paul was in prison and that his life was in danger. So Paul prayed for them to be strengthened by God’s Spirit.
When we read, study and meditate upon Scripture, we must pray for enlightenment, illumination and strength. Never separate spending time in the Word from spending time in prayer. Both are essential for our spiritual growth and well being. We cannot understand the Scriptures without the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate Author of all the Scriptures. Thus, we must pray for Him to illuminate our hearts and minds so that we can understand them and apply them.
When we read Scripture and pray about what we read, God will reveal His truth to us and He will strengthen us in our inner being. It is then with His power that we can begin to apply the Scriptures to our lives and obey them, which is what God wants from His children.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You have given me bold and confident access to the Father. Thank You for the gift and privilege of prayer. And thank You, O Holy Spirit, that when we ask You to illuminate our hearts to understand God’ Word, You do so.
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