16I [Paul] pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

Last week I blogged about Ephesians 3:20 and 21 – the blessing that Paul prayed to God after praying the above the above prayer for the Ephesians. Over the weekend, this passage caught my eye and I did a little bit of study on it. It’s an awesome prayer that becomes even better when you look at the meaning of a couple of the words. Let’s do it. First verses 16 and 17a:

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
Ephesians 3:16-17a

“out of” his glorious riches – really means “according to the standard of” his glorious riches– so it’s not like God’s got a bag of glorious riches and He’s pulling some of them out to give to me and you, but rather He has this tremendous standard of blessings and gifts and enablements and He is ministering to us according to that standard. There is a huge difference in the connotations of these two perspectives – one is kind of like saying “I’m giving you this because my very nature is giving and you’re mine” which is a wonderful thing, but the other is “I am enabling you to come up to my high standards”.

“strengthen” means “be strong to overcome resistance”.

“power” is the word dunamis – you’ve probably heard that word before – it means “dynamic living power” or “power to perform miracles”.

“dwell” – The Bible Knowledge Commentary describes the word dwell as referring “not to the beginning of Christ’s indwelling at the moment of salvation. Instead it denotes the desire that Christ may, literally, “be at home in,” that is, at the very center of or deeply rooted in, believers’ lives. [Paul was praying that the Ephesians were ] to let Christ become the dominating factor in their attitudes and conduct.”

So let’s look at verse 16 again – Paul says he prays that according to the standard of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with dynamic living power to overcome resistance through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may be at home, deeply rooted and ruling in your life.

And then Paul pours on an even greater powerhouse prayer – he prays that we being rooted and established in love, we would have the power to grasp the immensity of God’s love is for us – a love that surpasses knowledge – so that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. WOW!

Let’s look at more words:

“rooted and established” – the tenses mean that it’s a done deal with continuing actions – we have been rooted and established in God’s love…it’s a done deal. Finished. And are continually being rooted and established – constant and ongoing. So since being rooted and established there is no time when we are not being rooted and established.

“power” – Although translated power here, it is a different word from the previous verse. The word translated power in the previous verse was dunamis – dynamic, living power; the word here really means “to take hold of as one’s own”I’ve taught this word before – it’s Katalambano. It means to apprehend or to seize. It’s used in Philippians 3:12, the verse that the name of this blog is taken from  – Paul says “but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

“know”intimately know, experience

What an over the top prayer Paul prayed. Sometimes we have read something so many times or we read it so quickly because we have the rest of our day to get to that the enormity of it or the impact of it just flies by us. Paul is praying some heavy duty stuff for the Ephesians.

Stuff that is not only over-the-top, but also stuff that would have been a bit radical for his time. In verse 16, he prayed for God to “strengthen the believers through His Spirit in their inner being.” That’s radical because the Jews would not have prayed or believed for God working in them to resist temptation. They taught and believed of a more outwardly working God, not God dwelling in us and working from within.

What I find to be radical is the prayer for power for us to grasp the immensity of God’s love and filling to the measure of all the fullness God. Close your eyes for a minute. Now take a minute to think about someone that you love or have loved more than anything. Everyone has loved someone – a mother or father, sibling, friend or spouse. Think about the depth of the love you have for that person – what you would do for that person, how your life is enriched by that person. Now imagine that love purified to the nth degree and expanded beyond your ability to imagine in the natural. That’s God’s love for you. And Paul’s prayer is that you would not only be able to imagine, but to know – to experience – the unimaginable – how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is.

That’s the love Paul wants us to know. It’s the love he prayed the Ephesians would know. It’s the love God wants us to apprehend. Friends, I pray that you would know the deep, passionate, ongoing love that God has for you.

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