A Powerful Prayer
by Zack Howard
Have you ever struggled with what to pray for? Sometimes it is difficult for us to put into words the help we need or the care we have for others. In times like that, it helps us to look at example others give us in the scriptures. While we have many examples within the Old and New Testaments, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-21 gives us two essential elements regarding prayer.
We should be giving glory to God.
In the opening and closing statements of this prayer, Paul gives glory to God for all he can do. “14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Paul’s main points in his glorification are: God has named all in heaven and on earth, and God can do far more than we could imagine. God naming all in heaven on earth reminds us that God has created all things, both physically and spiritually. Secondly, there is no limit we can put on what God can do, and this should give us freedom in our supplications to God. Because we know God can do far more than we imagine, then we can pray for anything. If we learn from Paul’s example, then we should praise and thank God for his creation and his blessings for what he has planned. There should always be that underlying theme of gratitude in our prayers.
Our prayer should look after other’s spiritual wellness.
Paul also shows that we should be praying for the spiritual needs of others. 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Paul asks that the Christians in Ephesus be strengthened by the power of the spirit, with Christ dwelling in their hearts, so that they may comprehend the depth of the love of Christ, so they may be filled with the fullness of God. Paul is praying for the Christians to have the comprehension they need, for a deeper, spiritual relationship with God. Often times we are not like Paul in this sense; we spend more time in our prayers on the physical struggles that others face. We should be learning from Paul’s example, looking to the spiritual needs others have, because God can do more than we could ever ask or think. We should be praying for other’s spiritual strength, for their understanding of God’s message, and for the comprehension of his love.
Paul’s prayer gives us a two-point blueprint on how we should shape our prayers. We should have an element of awe and gratitude towards God, and we should pray for each other’s spiritual needs.