Ephesians 1:15-18 Three Reasons For Paul's Prayer
Our text for today is Ephesians 1:15-23. It states,
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 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 the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
On Friday, our district president sent out an email with some thoughts on how Converge churches in our district can respond appropriately as our country, and the world, is dealing with the coronvirus. Here is just a small portion of what Ken wrote, “Whatever decisions you make about how to lead your ministry make sure that love is the driving force and not fear...Make sure that love for the vulnerable is paramount in your thinking. Do not dismiss people’s concerns flippantly. Don’t only think about the people who normally come to your worship service. Rather, also think about your community which is gripped with fear.”
Ken was a pastor for over two decades and I found his words to be very wise and pastoral in nature. Especially when he said to “make sure that love is the driving force and not fear.”
In many ways, the message that Ken sent to all the churches reflected what we see in Paul in our text this morning. Paul was well aware of the hardships that the churches faced and it caused him great anxiety Consider 2 Corinthians 11:28 - “...there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all of the churches.” Every church, operating in their own culture, had their own challenges. Yet, despite this anxiety, Paul’s greatest motivation to pray for the churches was not based upon fear but from his love for them.
Today we will consider three motivations for Paul to pray continually for the churches...
Paul has a reason to pray...
What Paul said in Ephesians 1:3-14 compelled him to pray for the churches
What Paul says in Ephesians 1:15-23 compelled Paul to pray for the churches
#1 Consider Ephesians 1:15-16, “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers...”.
Let us consider the opening three words, ‘For this reason’ in three different ways.
What reason motivated Paul to pray for the church in Ephesus and all the others?
It could have been the rampant idolatry that they lived around.
It could have been the sorcery that was practiced all around them.
Paul could have been motivated by the fear of false teachers who taught twisted things.
All these things caused Paul to pray but there is still a more fundamental reason that made Paul pray. And this reason caused Paul to pray unceasingly for them. It motivated him to pray all the time. Paul says, “I do not cease to give thanks for you”.
In Paul’s letters he prays for himself and for others for many reasons. For example,
In 2 Corinthians 12:8 Paul prays three times for himself because of a thorn in his flesh.
In Romans 10:1 Paul prayed continually for his Jewish brothers who were rejecting the gospel
In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul continually prays for all people, for kings, and all those in positions of authority
In 1 Thessalonians 3:11 Paul prays that he would be able to return to the church to minister to them once again
There are many things that can cause us to pray...
We may pray that our family and friends will come to know Christ.
We pray for financial issues that arise from time to time.
We pray for those who have an illness, a sickness, or who have experienced some tragedy.
We are now called to pray for the coronavirus that is effecting the entire planet. In this regard, Ken Nabi again made the urgency of this quite clear when he said, “Some of you will be conducting funerals weeks from now.”
Our prayers can play out in many different ways. For example,
They may be answered by the Lord.
We may be told that His grace is sufficient while the thorn remains.
We may fail over time to continue to pray.
We may simply neglect prayer altogether. James 4:2 - You do not have, because you do not ask.