In my last post I referenced Paul’s two great apostolic prayers in Ephesians and focused on the place of wisdom and revelation in his prayer from Ephesians 1. We now shift our focus to his great prayer from Ephesians 3.
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14–19 (NKJV)
We will come to the importance of love and the significant connection to discernment but first we examine how Paul began this prayer, “For this reason.” Prior to launching into his prayer Paul was laying out God’s purpose for the church, of which we are part. Here is how Paul presented our purpose and the reason for his prayer.
10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, Ephesians 3:10–11 (NKJV)
Our Father has an eternal purpose to accomplish through the church! That means we can wake up each morning looking forward to our part in accomplishing His eternal purpose in the earth! After all Paul said that is what Jesus wants to do through us and he was explicit in Ephesians 6:12 that our battle is with the dark forces in heavenly places.
This is where love comes in. You are likely familiar with Paul’s discussion of the role of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 and how he inserts chapter 13, the love chapter, in between 12 and 14 to show that love needs to be the motivating factor in the exercise of spiritual gifts. Not our weak human love, His love. Hence Paul’s prayer for us to corporately encounter His love in an overwhelming way.
In Philippians’ Paul makes a further point. He explicitly connects His love in us to the depth of our discernment and reinforces what Jesus told us about being like our Father and loving our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9–11 (NKJV)
The more we are filled with His love, the deeper our discernment and the more able we are to function effectively in our calling to demonstrate His wisdom in the heavenly realms to the forces of darkness we battle. We can do this every day by living with a kingdom perspective knowing that the King desires to reveal His love to us and through us.
Let’s join in and ask for the wisdom and revelation to live out of this great prayer in Ephesians 3!