What do you pray for your church?
I find Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians interesting:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Paul’s prayer was, among other things, that they would have strength to comprehend the love of God, a love that surpasses knowledge.
What a great prayer.
A few observations from this passage:
It’s a gift. We need help to comprehend God’s love. That’s why Paul prays that God strengthens them with his power. We can’t pull it off by ourselves. Our prayer, often, should be that God shows up to help us to enjoy all that God has given us. It’s something we can’t pull off by ourselves. We need him to touch the core of our beings.
It’s available. God is able to answer these prayer requests because of “the riches of his glory.” God is not lacking in his willingness or ability to help us. We can boldly come to him and ask for his help. “The idea here is that God possesses extraordinary might, which he is able and willing to impart to his people” (Clinton Arnold).
We are meant to know and experience God’s love. Paul wants the Ephesians to experience a far deeper understanding of God’s love in their understanding and experience. At the same time, he says that the love of Christ is so great that we will never fully understand it. No matter how much we get God’s love, we’re only starting to get it. Paul wants us to know what can’t be fully known.
I have a theory that in the life to come one of our greatest blessings will be that we get to enjoy and experience this love which seems so far removed from us today without God’s help. What a day that will be.
Clinton Arnold summarizes:
He wants them to know that they now serve an omnipotent God, who is sufficiently capable of keeping all of his people under the umbrella of his vast love regardless of the strength and number of supernatural powers working to sever believers from that love.
How’s that for a prayer?
I want a lot for the church I pastor. I long for God to work in so many ways. But here’s what’s near the top of the list: I want them to know God’s love. Not just know, but experience it on an ongoing basis. Once that happens, it changes everything.