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

Continuing in our examination of Paul’s intercessory prayer for the Ephesians, Paul now gives us the reason why he prays that they would understand why they feel what they feel, think how they think and do what they do. He prays this in order that they would know three things, with the word know here being in the perfect tense. The perfect tense describes an action done in the past with results in the present, something they would know “once and for all”. In Paul’s view, this knowledge is to produce something, it is not to produce only the acquisition of information but to result in transformation. In Paul’s view, knowledge without transformation is just information. We are not just to know ourselves better to learn something, but so that we would be transformed. That transformation is to be demonstrated in primarily three ways, which Paul gives us here. The first is that they would know “the hope to which they have been called”. The word hope here is elpizo, and biblical hope is different from what is commonly thought of as hope. The common understanding of hope is as a wish, as in “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow”. Biblical hope is not a wish, but an expectation which results in action. You expect something to happen and so you act accordingly. If you hope it doesn’t rain, you will likely still take your umbrella, but if you expect it not to rain, you will leave your umbrella at home. Our expectation here is for the future, of our future eternal home. Our expectation of this produces a focus on this, with our lives lived in light of eternity and our decisions guided by that expectation. The second is that we would know “the riches of our glorious inheritance in the saints”. This inheritance is something which we participate in here and now, and as heirs of Christ, we inherit the kingdom of God. We participate in God’s kingdom here and now, and we are to live as loyal subjects of our King every moment of every day. This is described here with the word “riches”, describing for us the immeasurable value to be found in living as a subject of the kingdom of God day by day. The third is that they would know “His incomparably great power for us who believe”. This is also a here and now type thing, and God’s power is available here and now for those who live by faith (which is the way that we live as subjects of the kingdom of God). The question then arises as to what this power is for. We are told directly here who it is for (those who believe), but the question of what it is for must be determined from context. The entire point of Paul’s prayer is that the believers would be transformed, and our conclusion here must be that this power is for the transformation of the lives and hearts of the believers. To summarize Paul’s prayer here, we find that he prays primarily for five things: 1) They would know God better 2) They would know themselves better 3) They would live with their focus on their eternal home 4) They would live as subjects of the kingdom of God here and now 5) That His power would be manifested through them through a transformed life. This prayer of Paul for the Ephesians can serve as a “model” for us to follow as we intercede for one another, and gives us good guidelines to follow in what we should “ask” of God for one another.

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