Ephesians 1:15 ¶ Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
As the Apostle Paul lists the spiritual armor of the true believer in chapter six of this letter, he includes the weapon of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
For he readily informs the church at Corinth that they have mighty weapons, not of the physical kind, but those of the spiritual arsenal, including, (although not specifically mentioned), such things as faith, obedience and prayer. 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And he was not without this fervent spirit of prayer to all the churches over which he was given care. Here are but some of the portions of his letters to these various assemblies in which he informs them of his prayers. Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 5:17 Pray without ceasing. 25 Brethren, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
And what was it for which he prayed? It was not a ‘grocery list’ for physical supplies. For even when our Lord taught us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” he also instructs us that He is our Bread! John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Then he also instructed us that the Father knows that we have need of such physical supply. Luke 12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
The Lord’s concern was with his followers being filled with righteousness in order to satisfy their spiritual hunger. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
But what was it then for which the apostle prayed? We find them listed in verses seventeen and eighteen of our text. Essentially he prayed for their spiritual maturity. He prayed that they might have the spirit of wisdom and revelation. He prayed that their spiritual eyes would be enlightened in order to discover God’s purpose for calling them into spiritual life. And that they might discover the glorious riches of Christ’s inheritance in his presenting them faultless before the throne of God. For the Father is glorified as the believers reveal a greater spiritual likeness to His Son! For obedience to Christ’s words both opens up the believers prayers and brings greater glory to the Father! John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Then what is prayer? Prayer is to have a heavenly consciousness for communion with God as provided by the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. And how is one instructed to pray? We are to pray in the Holy Spirit, and to pray without ceasing. Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. But how are these criteria to be met? To pray in the Holy Ghost one must be a born again believer. They must be birthed into the kingdom by the entrance of the Holy Spirit into themselves. And to pray without ceasing requires one to have a spiritual, or heavenly mindedness. For one cannot close their eyes and repeat previously written religious prayers ‘without ceasing.’
Consider the Lord Jesus outside Lazarus’ tomb. John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
He clearly states that the Father has heard me. But a careful reading of this eleventh chapter of John fails to bring up any former prayer listed! Yet we know that the Lord does not lie. So since he stated that the Father had already heard him, there must have been an unspoken utterance sent up to the Father. And we do have that revealed unto us.
For in verses thirty-three and thirty-eight we read that he “groaned in the spirit!” John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. And this fulfills both the criteria listed above. For he was praying without ceasing and in the Spirit, even though there are no recorded spoken words!
But how was this accomplished? Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Christ’s groanings in the spirit were but lightning flashes of communion up to the Father’s throne. The specific detail of their message was unheard by those who stood around him. Hence his words as listed in the forty-second verse of this chapter, which are listed above: “but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” He only prayed out loud, using his voice for the people’s sake! But his prayer to the Father was already received at the throne by his inner communion expressed outwardly by his spiritual groanings.
Therefore we need sanctified minds that, by the Spirit, stay in touch with the Lord as we lean not to our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge him. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The Lord knows our thoughts. Matthew 9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts,… 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts,… Therefore we must also pray as did the Psalmist of old: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
And since we have been made kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10), we are, like the priests of old, never to allow the fire of spiritual communion in our hearts to go out, but fuel it with the worshipful appreciation of Christ’s sacrifice. Leviticus 6:12 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. 13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
And another of the apostle’s requests to God for these believers was that they should realize the great power and authority of their resurrected and enthroned Lord! Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, For there is a vast difference in the knowledge that the believer is going forth TO victory, rather than his going forth IN victory! The reason that the modern day religious community has to substitute ‘gimmicks’ and entertainments in order to draw in others is revealed in the fact they do not read or consider verse eighteen of Matthew 28 as part of their “Great Commission.”
But what then is the purpose of the “therefore” in verse nineteen? “Go ye therefore,” is based on the truth that, due to the fulfillment of his cross work, he has been given “All authority in heaven and earth.” And they are “therefore” to go in that authority! Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And also in verse twenty of this ‘commission’ we see that the evangelist can only “teach them” while he has been observing that which he has been taught under that same authority! Therefore without the personal realization of Christ’s power and authority over themselves, they have not the one thing all witnesses must have – personal experience! For the gospel is to go from “faith to faith!” That is, from the one witnessing having faith, unto the one witnessed to being given faith, as they hear the faith producing word. Then the effectual working of the gospel proceeds by God-granted faith! Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Then after the apostle received the righteousness of God through faith, he earnestly seeks to know the power of his resurrection. Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; And this is the ending of this prayer for these believers in Ephesus. “…the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” And this power, he states, is “wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” That is, that he may stay dead, in his old carnal being, which was born of the flesh, only ministering when the Holy Spirit raises him up with a fresh spiritual resurrection! 2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Pastor Gene Breed
February 13, 2021