PFOA: Ephesians 3:14-21

After the diversion of vv.2-20, Paul finally got round to pray. May be Paul was speaking metaphorically like we often do, but actually kneeling to pray certainly helps our minds to remain focused. And this is another example of a Trinitarian prayer – praying to the Father (v.14); for the work and glory of the Son, Jesus Christ (v.17, 21); and working out in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit (v.16).

Power is mentioned three times in this short prayer of Paul for the Ephesians. It will be helpful to see what kind of power he prays for. Firstly he prays that the Father “may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being”, v.16. We spend time strengthening our bodies with exercise and food, our minds with learning and experiences, and our “souls” with emotional strength and will. All these will grow old and deteriorate because the “outward man is perishing”, but the “inward man is being renewed day by day” 2 Cor.4:16. Though outwardly we may feel weak, discouraged and overwhelmed, the Holy Spirit strenghtens our spirit, our inner being, in order that we can remain firm, stedfast and not give up. This Spirited empowered inner being is not to be confused with what New Age and Self-Help gurus talk about finding inner-strength within ourselves.

Next we have a couple of oxymora: to know the imcomprehensible love of Christ and to be filled with the infinite fullness of God, v.19. But then, it is the impossible that is in the domain of God, nothing is beyond him, and he has given us the power to do just that – to grasp the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, a love that is beyond measure, yet we know in reality that he so loved us that Christ gave his life for us. Also God given us the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Christ, in whom we have his fullness who is infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere-present.

Thirdy, because of this, his power is at work within us, v.20, and he accomplishes immeasurably, or infinitely, more than we can ever ask or even imagine! This is the God Paul is praying to for his friends in the church in Ephesus. Like Paul, this is how we ought to pray, knowing who it is that we are praying to – God who is able to do “immeasurably more”.