“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:16–19)
The context helps us understand how this prayer functions in Ephesians. Ephesians 1:3-14 is a glorious unpacking of so many benefits that we enjoy in Christ: every spiritual blessing, election from before the foundation of the world, adoption into God’s family, forgiveness of sins, the seal of the Holy Spirit.
This prayer is simply to connect the Ephesians’ head knowledge of those glorious truths with their heart knowledge, their everyday life experience.
In verses 17–18, it says Paul wants them to have a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ and to have the eyes of their hearts enlightened to know three specific things in their everyday lives. (The three things are easy to recognize because the word “what” repeats three times.)
1. Pray to know more of the Hope of Christ.
“What is the hope to which he has called you” (verse 18).
So many in our world today are without true hope. This is increasingly true due to political strife in our culture, the empty promises of our secular world, living through pandemics and war, but ultimately from not knowing the hope of Christ.
But we who are in Jesus Christ have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Paul longs for the Ephesians to know more of that living hope. We need to know hope beyond our current circumstances. Hope a bad diagnosis, a pandemic, and a war can never take away. Hope is what causes us to persevere during hardship and suffering, and God wants to give it to us.
So pray along with Paul and me, Lord, help us know the hope to which You have called us.
2. Pray to know more of the Love of Christ.
“What are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (verse 18).
The meaning of the Greek of this phrase is somewhat ambiguous. It can either mean we are God’s special inheritance, or He gives us an inheritance. Both are biblical ideas, and both point to the love of Christ.
I can ask God to know more of how we are His treasured people, His inheritance, who will receive an inheritance of our own in the new heavens and new earth.
That’s one of the beauties of praying Scripture, even if we don’t know precisely what it says, as long as we’re not praying something unbiblical, we will offer useful prayers that God will hear. We have freedom.
This second petition is a petition to know more of our beloved status. In God’s eyes, we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)—more than the greatest world leaders of all human history because God calls us His beloved children. You may know that intellectually, but do you know that deep down in your soul? That’s what Paul is asking for, and we can ask to know it too.
Lord, help us know the riches of Your love for us in Christ.
3. Pray to know more of the Power of Christ.
“What is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…” (verse 19).
I don’t want you to miss how Paul describes this great power that is at work within us. Look at verse 20, “…The same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand… far above all rule and authority and power and dominion…” God our Father is the most powerful Being that ever has been or ever will be, and His unmatched power is toward us who believe.
This is resurrection power that is ALWAYS available for God’s special people. This petition is that we would know that power; a power to help us be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might, as Ephesians 6 says. The power to help us stand firm in our identities in Christ, to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. Power to help us maintain unity and love within the church, power to love our spouses and children, power to work in a way that honors God.
Do you want to know that power when you are discouraged? When you are tempted? When facing intense spiritual opposition? We can pray to know the power of Christ at work in us, and we can be strengthened by that power.
Ephesians 1 gives us at least three petitions we can pray: Pray to know the hope of Christ, the love of Christ, and the power of Christ.
When might we want to use these petitions from Ephesians 1? Let me suggest a few situations to illustrate how practical it is.
- Daily – This is a prayer to wake up each morning with a deeper understanding of the riches of the gospel.
- When my faith is stale and I need a refresh. When I start thinking, “I learned all the truth of Ephesians 1:3-14 in Sunday school and don’t really care much.”
- When a loved one is drifting from Christ. Pray that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened to know more of the hope, love, and power of the gospel in their life.
- When I drop my three-year-old daughter off at Sunday school.
- You could pray this for your church community to be more and more characterized by the hope, love, and power of the gospel.
- Pray it for persecuted brothers around the world to experience the gospel in deep ways as they suffer for the sake of Christ. (It’s interesting to note that Paul wrote Ephesians from prison!)
There are limitless ways we can pray this prayer. I encourage you to add it to your prayer toolbox.
Watch the full 25-minute teaching session Praying the Apostle Paul’s Prayers.
Related Article: 25 Powerful Prayers from the Bible