Papa Hagin always recommended that people pray for themselves this prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians.
“Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 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: 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, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 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: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:16-23, KJV.
“If you are not happy with your life, if you want life to be different for you, then pray this prayer for at least six months. Don’t pray it one week and then skip a week. Pray this prayer at least once a day, every single day for six months. Pray it over and over again. Just stick with it until something happens. If you do that, life will be different for you. The first thing that will happen is that the Bible will become a different book to you.”
I’d prayed the first of these prayers quite a bit over the years, but six or seven years ago I began praying it on a regular basis. I became a little obsessed with it. I’d pray it first thing in the
That You Might See With The Eyes of Your Spirit
Paul starts by praying that God would give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation so that we can know something.
Ephesians 1:17 “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…
You can tell he’s talking about spiritual things because it’s revelation, enlightenment, knowledge, “of him,” i.e. God, that he wants us to have. Why doesn’t he just tell us what it is he wants us to know? He does, in a bit, but even so we can’t really grasp what he’s saying with our mind we have to hear it with our spirit. Paul doesn’t want us to learn a doctrine, he wants us to see something. The thing Paul wants us to see can’t be seen with physical eyes but only with our spiritual eyes, so he prays that our spiritual eyes will be opened. As Paul told the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 KJV “9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
I like how the Twentieth Century New Testament translates vss. 14 and 15
1 Corinthians 2:14 (TCNT) The merely intellectual man rejects the teaching of the Spirit of God; for to him it is mere folly; he cannot grasp it, because it is to be understood only by spiritual insight. 15 But the man with spiritual insight is able to understand everything, although he himself is understood by no one.
So Paul is praying that God would give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation so that we can see, so we can know. He’s praying for us to be spiritual so we can grasp the things he wants us to know. He’s praying for us to be like the spiritual man he mentions in 1 Corinthians 2:15. In other words, Paul is praying for us to receive faith. Faith is the core of Christianity, without it we Christians are just stumbling around in the dark no different from anyone else. The essence of faith is spiritual knowledge, spiritual enlightenment, spiritual revelation. Papa Hagin liked to say, “When the light comes, faith is there.” When the light comes you’re no longer stumbling around in the dark, you see, you know. That’s where Paul wants us to get.
You could say the prayer ends here. What follows is the thing Paul wants us to know, to receive revelation about, to have faith about. You could pray just the first part of this prayer for enlightenment, revelation, spiritual knowledge in any area or even just in general.
Who Are We?
In the rest of the prayer Paul sets out what it is he wants us to see.
18…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…
Paul is praying that God will cause the eyes of our understanding to be enlightened so we can know, so we can see, three things:
-The hope of his calling,
- the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and
- the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.
These three things are parallel, Paul’s just repeating the same thing in three different ways. He’s just talking about one thing, who or what we as Christians are, that’s what he wants us to know. Lets look at them individually and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Paul is praying that the Ephesians might know:
18…what is the hope of his calling
In Church I illustrate this by asking Stevie to come to the front because I need him to do something for me. I’ve called Stevie, there is a reason I’ve called him, a purpose, a hope of his calling but he doesn’t yet know what it is. God has called us,
Ephesians 4:1 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,”
Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;t what it is.
Paul is praying that we might come to know what the point, the reason, the goal, the end state, the hope of our calling is. Now he doesn’t so much mean what God has called us to do, as what God has called us to be. What has God called you to be? Who has God called you to be?
Paul is praying that the Ephesians might know:
and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
It’s not our inheritance Paul wants us to know about, but God’s inheritance. What inheritance? His inheritance in the saints. Saints here referring to Christians, God’s people. You find similar language in the Hebrew Bible where the children of Israel are referred to as God’s portion, his inheritance, his treasure:
Deuteronomy 32:9 “For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
1 Samuel 10:1 “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?”
Psalms 78:71 “From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.”
Paul wants us to know what is the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance, God’s portion, God’s treasure, in us, the saints. In other words Paul wants us to know what God’s people are like. What are they like? Whatever it is, Paul describes it as “riches of the glory.” God’s inheritance in us is rich in glory. God’s inheritance in us, his saints, is overflowingly glorious. This sounds odd to Christians who’ve been repeatedly told that we’re just worms in God’s sight. Western Christianity’s over emphasis on guilt and sin has caused us to miss what it means to become a Christian. To illustrate this in church I’d call all my kids, all four of them, up to the front, and begin to tell of their glory, what they’ve done, what they’re good at, how beautiful, funny, smart, kind they are. They are my portion, my treasure, my inheritance. That’s the idea here. God has gotten himself a glorious people…us. Paul wants us to know what it is that we have become by becoming Christians…it’s glorious. Being a Christian is a great, glorious, noble, honorable, magnificent thing and Paul is praying that we will know, in our hearts, in our spirits, what it is.
Can you see that, “what is the hope of his calling,” and “what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” are really dealing with the same thing. They both deal with us and who we are as Christians, what happens when we become Christians. That’s what Paul wants us to know. The third one deals with the same thing.
Paul is praying that the Ephesians might know:
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe…
We tend to read this as referring to power that is available to the believer, but it’s actually referring to the power exercised on us at the time we became believers. When we become Christians, when we become believers, when we become followers of Jesus, God exercises power towards us. What is this power of God that is applied to us when we believe? Paul describes it as exceeding great power. God didn’t use ordinary power when he made us Christians, it didn’t involve even just great power, but power that exceeds greatness. When God called us, when He made us His inheritance, when God made us Christians He exercised exceeding, greatness of power. Now that tells us that being a Christian is a bigger deal than we’ve thought. God exercised a tremendous amount of power on us to make us Christians, it seems reasonable to conclude that the result of that exercise of power is the creation of something tremendous.
What kind of power was it, what type of power was it, what work does this power work? He tells us in the remaining verses. It’s “according to” power. The power that God works in us when we believe, when we accept Christ, is “according to” power.
“19…according to the working of his mighty power…”
“According to” means consistent with, or like. Here are a few different translations:
NIV (1984) “and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,”
New Living Translation “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power”
Weymouth “and what the transcendent greatness of His power in us believers as seen in the working of His infinite might”
Amplified Bible And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
Contemporary English Version “I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used”
Good News Translation “and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength”
J. B. Phillips “That power is the same divine power…”
So this exceeding greatness of power, that God wrought in us when we believed, that Paul wants us to get the revelation about, grasp with our spirit, receive faith for is, as the New Living Translation puts it, “the same mighty power…” Same mighty power as…?
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.”
We have a very low picture of what it means to become a Christian. When we become Christians God exercises the same power on us that He exercised on Jesus when he raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Jesus to his right hand giving him all authority in heaven and in earth. Now I don’t mean that God used the same kind of power, I mean that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead, impacted us. The very same power that God used when He exalted Jesus to His right hand effected us. When God raised Jesus from the dead, God raised us from the dead. When God exalted Jesus to his right hand, God exalted us to His own right hand as well. Paul tells us that a few verses on:
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Here’s the NIV:
Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
That’s what Paul wants us to see. That’s the hope of our calling, the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in us, the saints, the exceeding greatness of God’s power to usward who believe. Pray these prayers and when you see it with your spirit, when you get the revelation of it, when the light comes you’ll say whooooo, hoooooo, too.
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