I was taught to pray using New Testament prayers such as Ephesians 1:15-23 as a young Christian in the Chi Alpha chapter at Ohio University.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
“For this reason” points back to Ephesians 1:3-14, which sets the foundation for divine purpose. The theology of 1:3-14 motivates everything else in the letter and should be read with these verses. Verses 15-23 contains the author’s (Paul) prayer for the continuing work of God in his readers, which grows out of his thanks for what God has already accomplished in them. Similar to 1:3-14, v 15-23 is one long sentence in Greek. The thought process can be outlined as:
A) Paul received a report of their faith and love (v 15); B) Based on their actions, he gives thanks and prays for them (v 16); C) Paul prays for the gift of revelation to know God better (v 17-23).
The way God has worked to accomplish salvation motivates Paul’s praise (3-14) and prayer. The goal of the prayer is that people will recognize in their own lives the benefits mentioned in 3-14. The apostle Paul offers a prayer that Christians may realize God’s purpose and power.
Q What did Paul ask God, the glorious Father, to do for the Ephesians? (v 17)?
A God would give the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to deepen their knowledge of God.
Q What three things did Paul want the Ephesians to know about God? (v 18-19)
A The hope of their calling, the riches of their inheritance in the saints, and the incomparable greatness of His power for them.
Q Describe the influence of God’s power. (v 21)
A The five categories of powers mentioned emphasize Christ’s victory over all of them.
Q What (or whom) did God appoint Jesus to be? (v 22)
A The “head” over everything for the church. Jesus is Lord and Ruler over all.
Think theologically. Paul’s prayer reveals a conviction about the necessity of regular prayer for others; prayer is based on God’s character and actions; prayer should lead to wisdom, understanding, and Christ-like behavior; prayer leads to hope; and prayer is founded on the resurrection and exaltation of King Jesus. Use Ephesians 1:15-23 as a guide in your praying.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz