Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today, we look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians.
Here is the whole prayer in chapter 1:
I ask the glorious father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better.
I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your heart so that you may know
– the hope to which he has called you,
– the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and
– his incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph 1:18-20).
Interestingly, the prayer asks only for invisible things. It’s not a desperate prayer for God’s help with the latest set of problems, nor is it a grasping prayer for health and wealth. It’s not a national prayer for God to stop Caesar’s political and military madness, and it’s not even a religious prayer for church growth.
It’s a personal prayer, asking God for invisible and inward gifts of spirit and light.
A key biblical metaphor for the invisible part of human life is the air we breathe. Genesis says that, “God formed the first human from dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7). The air we breathe is the breath of God, his spirit giving life to our bodies of clay.
In the gospels, Jesus spent three years guiding the spiritual formation of the disciples. Then he repeated God’s life-giving action. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). God formed humans from clay and animated them with his breath. Jesus formed the disciples spiritually and gave them new life through the breath of the spirit.
Paul continues this theme in Ephesians, praying, “May God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so you may know him better” (Eph. 1:18). Yes. May God breathe into us the spirit that enables us to know him.
Paul continues, “I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your heart. . .” (Eph 1:19). As a doctor shines his light into your eyes to see what is in and behind them, so God shines his light in our hearts, not to see what is there, but to create something new within: a new way of knowing, a new confidence in our invisible relationship with him, a new reliance on his care for us.
Paul prays that we will receive this inward light in three ways.
First, God wants us to know the hope to which he called us. In a world fixated on chaos and gender and identity politics and disasters, the breath of God in our clay bodies and the breath of Jesus in our spiritual life turns our despair into hope.
Second, God wants us to know the glorious riches of his inheritance in the saints.God downloads his invisible riches into our hearts. One day when the download is complete, perhaps he will push the “install” button, erasing our program of sin, replacing it with his program of spiritual riches.
Third, God wants us to know his great power. Though our visible lives seem weak and vulnerable, our invisible life in God has strength and staying power.
Our father, breathe your spirit into us until we receive the revelation of your power and glory. Shine your light into our hearts until they are centers of hope and inheritance and power.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.