Punctuated with prayer – Thursday, 29th week in ordinary time – Ephesians 3:14-21
In the text of yesterday, Ephesians 3:12 spoke of the boldness and confidence we all have (Jews and Gentiles) to approach God because of the access we have through Christ. This great mystery of unity, this unmerited salvation of all in Christ, this privilege of being joint heirs in the promise of Jesus is the reason why the author to the Ephesians begins this text with an act of great humility and thanks; “he bows his knees before the father.” The author to the Ephesians punctuates his letter with a moment of prayer.
The prayer of Paul begins with a publicly manifested action of reverence. As an aside; external gestures of reverence are slowly fading in the Catholic Church. As one pastor once said, if your knees are giving way, bow at your hip. If you hip is giving way bow at your neck and if you neck has given way close your eyes and if that is not possible find it in your heart to make an appropriate gesture of reverence according to your physical ability; acknowledging the great presence before whom you enter.
Let me back this with scripture. Solomon prayed on his knees (1 Kings 8:54). Ezra prayed on his knees (Ezra 9:5). The Psalmist called us to kneel (Psalm 95:6). Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10). People came to Jesus kneeling (Matthew 17:14, Matthew 20:20, and Mark 1:40). Stephen prayed on his knees (Acts 7:60). Peter prayed on his knees (Acts 9:40). Paul prayed on his knees (Acts 20:36), and the early Christians prayed on their knees (Acts 21:5). Most importantly, Jesus prayed on His knees (Luke 22:41). So, give God some knee-mail!
It is not merely the external gesture of prayer to which our attention is drawn but to the prayer itself. The prayer made to the father of Jesus is that they may be spiritually (not just power in your muscles) strengthened with the power (dunamis) that comes through the spirit. The Greek word dunamis (from which we get our word dynamite) speaks of a special kind of power; the ability to do or to accomplish. It is an enabling sort of power, because it equips us to do good things while leaving us freedom to exercise that power. But this measure of power is given in “according to the riches of HIS glory.
What a prayer! The riches of God’s glory are infinite. So, Paul is praying for God to shower these Ephesian Christians with not just some blessings but with infinite blessings.
Paul moves to the second petition of his prayer, that “Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith as they were rooted and grounded in love.” There are two powerful elements here. The prayer is an invitation for Christ to dwell. The word Dwell uses the ancient Greek word for a permanent home. Jesus wants to settle down in our heart, not just visit as a stranger.