15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 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, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; 22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Eph 1:15-23 (RSV).
In Jesus we have the opportunity to live victoriously. Jesus offers us victory in the experience of a new kind of relationship with God, which in turn frees us from all condemnation (even when we are the ones tempted to condemn). This freedom in turn results in the possibility of Joy that triumphs even in the midst of terrible adversity. Now
#4 WE BRING GOD’S VICTORY TO BEAR ON OTHERS THROUGH PRAYER
The epistle to the Ephesians was likely a circular letter to various congregations in the vicinity of Ephesus. Although Paul was the founder of the church at Ephesus, he seems not to have known many of the people in the surrounding congregations. He evidently had a report about them and began to joyfully pray for them. He prayed confidently, believing that God would use his prayers to increase the new Christians’ knowledge of God, to experience the hope that God offered, to enjoy the riches of the inheritance of the saints, to sense God’s power at work in their lives, and to make their churches outposts for the victorious Lordship of Jesus.
For Paul, prayer is a powerful tool to extend the victory of God in Jesus Christ into the lives of all the people with whom we come into contact. The Christian not only experiences a personal victory which is already his in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; the Christian also receives from Jesus a ministry of intercession for others that is part of the great intercession of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). This intercession in which we participate, actually mobilizes God’s active will to defeat the triple enemy of flesh, world, and devil. Yes, sometimes we struggle in prayer for a person or a situation for years. Yes, sometimes prayer seems powerless to defeat evil. But patient, persistent, searching prayer is truly powerful, and those who have practiced it bear witness of great walls that have been brought down by it.
PRAYER: Dear God,
I want to make a difference for you in the world and in the lives of those that surround me. Teach me the art of prayer that moves in concert with the Holy Spirit and with your will. Grant me to learn patient and effective intercession, so that those who touch my life may in turn be touched by your gracious presence and your dramatic work in Jesus Christ. Amen.