Ephesians 1:15-23: Prayer for the Saints: Part One
What do you pray for other Christians? You might have found yourself in your quiet time and you pick up the church phonebook to pray through a page as part of your daily devotions. This is the third time you have gone through the book and the prayers are beginning to feel heartless and robotic. You aren’t really sure what to ask for. Should you ask for happiness, prosperity, good health, emotional wellbeing, peace? These are broad categories of well-wishing which are not informed by the gospel, what you want are prayer requests that are not what any uninformed unbeliever would pray but those prayer requests which are informed by the realities of the gospel. Ephesians 1:15-23 is an example of such a prayer by the apostle Paul. When Christians find themselves in a war, in a town and environment that is hostile to the gospel like Ephesus, when they need true ballast for the storm these are the things to seek for others and ourselves.
Once again v15-23 is one sentence in Greek. And where 3-14 is praise to God for the blessings of our salvation this section is a prayer to God that we might know the blessings of our salvation. The thing to note about this section is that Paul is not asking for us to receive a second blessing or a new experience for the elite, but rather he is asking for us to come to know what is already ours in Christ. All the things Paul asks for us to know fall under the category of the assurance of our salvation. Paul wants us to know the work of the Trinity for us in our salvation and how unbreakable and certain it is. He recognizes that when a Christians knows that they are inseparably saved they will face sufferings with courage, temptation with steadfastness and persecution without fear.
We will look at these verses under two headings, firstly we will look at v15 and how Paul knows the Ephesians are Christians, we will examine the evidences of faith and love. Then the bulk of our message will be looking at how Paul prays for the Ephesians. We will see that he prays with thanksgiving and he prays for knowledge. Three things in particular are highlighted for us to know, our hope, our inheritance, and the power working for us.