The apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to a church he founded and spent two years serving. But based on the tone and tenor of this letter, it is reasonable to understand it to be intended for other churches in the region as well – maybe a circular letter that was passed from church to church.
The reason to think this is the theology, as you have seen in Chapter 1, is quite expansive (some might call it lofty), and Paul didn’t seem to be drilling down into specific local church issues, like he did in his letters to the Corinthians and Galatians. So perhaps this was more of a general letter, intended for multiple churches – helping them to shore up their understanding of the gospel.
We could focus on a lot of things from Chapter 1. One of the most important, perhaps, is the blessings we have in Christ. We have every spiritual blessing to live as the people of God. And God saw us coming from a long way off. This is a special relationship, one of adoption, that we have with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as wonderful as it is, is simply a guarantee or a “seal” – marking time for what’s to come. We have a glorious future ahead of us.
One thing I would draw your attention to today is Paul’s explanation of his prayer for the church that closes out the chapter. Paul prays big. This wasn’t a prayer for health and physical well-being. He was not praying for healings or miracles.
Paul is praying for something more important, and we would do well to pay attention. Perhaps Paul’s prayers could inform our own.
Paul prayed the church would receive the “Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.” He wanted the church to have open hearts and the knowledge of the “hope to which he has called you.” He wanted the church to know the riches of their “inheritance” and the greatness of God’s power.
This is different than praying for a safe journey or a solution to a financial problem. Those are important. But Paul was praying bigger.
Paul was praying the church would know the glory of Christ – raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God. Jesus stood over every conceivable earthly power. All things are under his feet. And the church is his body! It is the fullness of Christ.
This is a serious prayer.
And so we might want to think about our own prayer lives. What do we spend time praying about? Mostly, I imagine, we’re asking God to do things for us or for people we know. We ask for physical things, for the resolution to various problems or health concerns. We often pray about temporary things.
Meanwhile, Paul was praying the church would understand how blessed it is and that it would have wisdom and knowledge of God. Paul was asking for better things, bigger things, than what I normally ask.
Maybe we should start praying larger prayers. Eternity is a long time, after all. A billion years into eternity (if it were to be measured that way) a prayer like Paul prayed is the kind of prayer we know will have made a difference. I think we’ll look back and realize we should have been praying more prayers like that and maybe less of the prayers we normally pray.
Think about it.