This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
A Prayer for God's People
Meditation on Ephesians 1:15-19
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 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.
The Apostle Paul prayed for those whom God had brought into a saving relationship through Paul’s ministry. Why this prayer? If God is in charge of everything and has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, what is the point of praying? In fact, what is the point of doing anything? Why should we witness? Why study the Bible? Why do good works?
The reason is that God uses means like prayer, witnessing, Bible study, and good works. It is through prayer that God brings blessing. We cannot think of a man being a good pastor if he does not visit the families in his church. Likewise, a man is not a good pastor if he does not pray for the lambs and sheep of his flock. The prayer of the Apostle Paul is that God, who has planned and accomplished the salvation of His people, works out that salvation so that they grow in knowledge of Him. The fact that it is God who works gives confidence for prayer. What a prayer this is!
First, Paul prayed that God might give the Ephesians the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge in order that they may know Him. But did not they already have the Spirit? Did they not already know God? Yes, of course they did! Without that Spirit and knowledge, they would not be in the fellowship of Christ. The idea is that God may continue to let that Spirit of wisdom and revelation dwell in them. This is in the way of prayer! It is in the way of the prayer of the Apostle but also in the way of the prayers of the believers themselves! Are you praying for that for yourself and your children?
It was not only a prayer that the Spirit may continue to dwell in them, but also that they may increase by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in their knowledge of God. God reveals Himself - in nature, in the Scriptures, but especially in Christ Jesus. It was a prayer that the Holy Spirit would increase His operation in them, so that they might know and understand God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. It was not only knowledge about God, but it is to be a personal and experiential knowledge. Knowing God and knowing about Him are quite different! It is not only an intellectual knowledge but a spiritual knowledge of God. It is knowing God in love. This knowing is a matter of grace. We want to know Him whom to know is life eternal (John 17:3). It is to grow in our knowledge of God in His names, attributes, and wonderful works. Do you desire this growth in knowing God?
Secondly, Paul prayed that the Ephesians might not only know God Himself, but also those elements of salvation He has achieved for His people. He makes three requests: (1) That they may know “the hope of his calling,” (2) that they may know “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” and (3) that they may know “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.” Do you know the scope of your salvation?
God has called His people to a glorious hope! That hope is the certainty of the forgiveness of our sins, our adoption as God’s children, Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, and our final destiny of body and soul dwelling with God in the new heavens and earth. God has effectually called us to that by His Spirit and Word. It is certain because it is grounded in what God has done for us in Christ. It is a “living hope” (I Pet. 1:3), a “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), and a hope that is “sure” (Heb. 6:11).
What a riches are prepared for us! Of the scope of those blessings we know so little. But we know enough of the blessings that we already possess, that we long for that which is yet coming!
May we know the incomparable power of God to us who believe. It is a power that raised our Lord Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to glory and power. It is a power that now also is given and works in Christ’s body, the church. We know that power by experience. How are we to experience that power? It is only by knowing God. That is why the Apostle Paul prayed for that first.
If we are to know God, we must spend time with Him in Bible study, prayer, and meditation. You cannot get to know a person without spending time with him or her. So also you cannot get to know God without spending time with Him. Do you sit at His feet in loving devotion and ardent desire to know Him better, to know Him as your Father and the God of your salvation?
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in him always and feed on his Word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek. (George Stebbins, 1846-1945)
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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