Intercessory Prayer (Part One)- Ephesians 1:15-23

Having examined Jesus teaching on how we should pray for ourselves, we will now examine the biblical method for another form of prayer, intercession for others. The Bible commands use to intercede in prayer for one another (1Timothy 2:1) and we find a model prayer of intercession in the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians in Ephesians 1:15-23. The word intercede means to go before God on behalf of others in order to obtain something for them, and this prayer from Paul will be examined in order to discover the basic principles of intercession which are to guide believers in their intercession for one another. Paul begins his prayer by giving us the reason for it in verse 15, referring back to verses 13 and 14. The reason for his prayer for them is that they are “in Christ”, with their faith in Christ being proved genuine by their “love for all the saints” (even the difficult ones). Paul begins his prayer by giving thanks for them, seeing them as a gift from God, and his method of giving thanks for them is to pray for them. The phrase translated “remembering you” here is literally “making mention of you” and the word translated prayers here is proseuche, “to come before”. Paul is telling us here that every time he comes before God in prayer, he makes mention of the Ephesians, that his prayer is never only for himself, but also for his brothers and sisters in the Lord. He then goes on to tell them what it is he makes mention of; he prays “in order that” (hina here in the Greek) God would do something specific for them. This implies that he knows them personally and is involved enough in their lives to ask for something specific for them from God (not just “God, bless them”). He prays that God would give them something, with the word give here being the aorist subjunctive of didomi- to bestow. The aorist subjunctive here points to no time in particular, with the idea here being that God would give this anytime they need it. What does Paul feel that they need above all else? A spirit of wisdom and revelation, with revelation here being the uncovering of insight, and wisdom being knowing what to do with that insight. Why does he desire this for them? So that they may know him (God) better. The word know here is ginosko, the word commonly used to describe relational knowledge, of growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ, growing to know Him as opposed to knowing about Him. The most important thing for Paul regarding his flock is that their relationship with Jesus Christ would deepen in all ways, that they would know Him “better”. He also prays that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened. What does he mean here by eyes of the heart? The heart in the Bible is the seat of emotion, intellect and volition. It is the heart which causes us to feel what we feel, think the way we think and do what we do. Paul’s prayer here is that their eyes would be opened to see into their own hearts, that they would see why they think, feel and act the way they do, that they would know themselves better. This type of knowledge of ourselves only comes as we grow to know Christ more and more, and the first (and most important) part of Paul’s prayer for them is that they would grow to know Christ more fully, and through that come to a fuller knowledge of themselves. This is also to be our prayer and aim in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, that they may grow to know Christ (and themselves) better.

2 Comments Growing In Grace  //  Prayer

2 Responses so far.

  1. Janet says:

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