PRAYING FOR INWARD STRENGTH

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 3:17a

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17a)

Paul’s prayer is that his readers may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in the inner being.  We desperately need the power of the Spirit to live a life that is pleasing to God and one that can handle the trials and difficulties of life.  We cannot do these things in our own strength.  It is utterly impossible because we are weak and prone to sin.

After his prayer for the Spirit to strengthen us, Paul prays, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”  It is a fact that Christ lives in our hearts.  “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  When we were regenerated (born again), Christ came into our hearts, our inner beings.  He dwells there permanently.

The problem is that we often do not experience His presence, and even if we do, we do we practice His presence.  We serve our selfish and sinful desires and we live as though we are self sufficient.  The flesh takes over and we ignore the fact that Christ lives in us.  We are prone to wander from the God we love.  We become absorbed in ourselves and we seek to live independently of God.  This is our nature!

Paul prays that the Spirit will strengthen us in our inner beings so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.  He is praying for us to have faith, to rely upon Jesus, and to draw our strength from Him who dwells in our hearts.  How often do we find ourselves weak in faith?  We try to take control of situations in our own strength.  We fail miserably at it.  We are like the desperate father in Mark 9:24 who said, “I believe; help my unbelief.”

Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8,9).  We must rely upon the Spirit to strengthen our faith.  When He does, we know that Christ dwells in our hearts.  We experience the reality that it is “no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in Me” (Galatians 2:20).  We then grasp the fact that “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Lord God, I acknowledge that faith is a gift from You.  I also admit how weak my faith is at times.  I fail to practice Your presence.  I pray that You enable me to experience the deep, abiding presence of Jesus in my inner being.  I believe; help my unbelief.

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