How are you praying? (Part 3)

Or…. Praying for the impossible

It’s been a couple of days since I posted, I’m afraid its been a couple of busy days, but here goes!
I’ve posted twice so far on the prayers of Paul and I’m going to reflect on another in this post. (You can read the first part here and the second part here.)

Ephesians 3:14-21 is perhaps Paul’s best known account of his prayers, and like many well known passages of scripture I guess that it is easy to miss the power of the content in the familiarity of the words.

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. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Have you noticed that in this passage, Paul tells the Ephesians that he is praying for the impossible? Have you noticed that he prays for these Christians to have power to “know” the love of Christ. He then goes on to say that this love of Christ “surpasses knowledge.” To put it another way. Paul says “I’m praying for you that you would know something that can’t be known, namely the love of Christ.”

So if the love of Christ “surpasses knowledge” how can it be known? That’s why Paul begins by praying for power to make them strong on the inside, and the prayer builds from that point with a series consequential requests.

This is a really important point for any Christian to note. The love of Christ cannot be known by reason alone. It “surpasses knowledge.” Indeed the love of Christ can only be known by revelation and this is the powerful work of the Holy Spirit of God for which Paul prays.

I guess that is why this is such an important prayer. In order to be a loving person, I need to have a revelation of the love of Christ in all its breadth, length, height and depth. Doesn’t the Bible say that we love because he first loved us? (1 John 4:19) A real appreciation of the vastness and scale of the love of Christ is beyond my human faculties except for the powerful work of the Spirit of God.

So get praying. Pray for one another, pray for me, pray for yourself. Pray for a deeper revelation of the love of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

For your use, here is my go at turning the text into a prayer:

Heavenly Father, rich in glory
I pray for….
That you might cause them to
be strengthened in power by your Holy Spirit in the innermost places of his/her
So that Christ might dwell in his/her heart through faith.
So that
rooted and grounded in love …. might have strength to comprehend with all the
saints; the breadth, the length, the height and the depth of the love of Christ.
So that he/she might know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge
that he/she might be filled with all the fullness of God.


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