Let's take a look at his prayer, found in Ephesians 3:14-21.
1. Bowing To The Father (3:14-16a). ‘For this reason’ Paul prays (14a). For what reason? The overflowing grace of God in Christ, shown in his people, the church (chapters 2 and 3)! Because God has created a new people to showcase his glory to the universe, Paul prays for that people!
Praying Reminders. Sometimes in our prayers we simply jump to the petition itself, using as few words as possible, in order to ‘get in and get out’ of prayer (this is probably most true concerning men..right ladies?). There may be a time to be brief in prayer, but there are many examples in Scripture of lingering in prayer in order to praise God and spend time with him. This text is one example (so is the Lord’s model prayer). Paul seems to say things that are ‘unnecessary’ in his prayer; things we all already know. But this is ok! As we heap up praises to the Lord and quote his promises and who he is, we are also being encouraged and edified by reminding ourselves (and those praying with us) of precious truths! Look at Paul’s reminders in this prayer before he begins his petitions:
- Reminder: To Whom We Pray. “I bow my knees before the Father…” (14b). To whom does Paul bow his knees? The Father! What a reminder! Paul has already spoken of God’s predestinating us to adoption as sons (1:4-5), and our ‘boldness and access with confidence’ (3:12) to approach him in faith. We must continually be aware of the One to whom we are praying.
- Reminder: God is the Source. “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…” (15). Translations vary on this verse; the words should either be translated ‘every family’ or ‘the whole family’ (O’Brien; Stott). God’s naming of every family would speak of his sovereignty over all (ESV Study Bible notes); his naming of the ‘whole family in heaven and on earth’ would follow what Paul has been saying about the unified church, and would indicate unity between the church in heaven and those still on earth (Boice). Whichever translation is used, Paul reminds us that God is the one who names; He is the Source! The family flows from him.
- Reminder: God is Exalted. “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you…” (16a). Paul also speaks of God’s ‘riches of…glory,’ reminding us of the exalted position of the one hearing our prayer. Prayer is not the power of positive thinking, or willing something to happen, but asking God to ‘grant’ our requests, out of his abundant supply.
Cor 6:19)? Commentators point out that there are two Greek words for ‘dwell’ Paul could have used. The first one (paroikeō) has temporary connotations, meaning to dwell somewhere as a stranger or foreigner; the other word, which is the one Paul used (katoikeō), means to settle down permanently. So Paul is praying that “Christ may settle down in our hearts and control them as the rightful owner,” because “this is something they grow into as Christ takes stronger and fuller possession of every corner of their lives” (Boice). Paul is praying that the church would grow stronger spiritually and increase in their experience of Christ’s indwelling power.
The only thing possibly left to say is, “AMEN.”