One of the most inspiring prayers in the Bible is located in Ephesians 3:14-21. This prayer is directed by the apostle Paul to the faithful saints in Ephesus at a time when Paul was going through intense trials on the behalf of the church (vs. 13). But though Paul was the one doing the suffering, his concern was that they “did not lose heart” as they saw and heard what he was going through for them! He puts his petition directly before God, “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named,” as Christ Himself instructed us in John 16:23-27.
In Your Hearts
There is one specific phrase in this prayer that directly addresses Paul’s concern about the Ephesians, and us by extension, losing heart in times of stress. I have personally found to be encouraging beyond words, and I would like to focus on in this today in in several more blog posts to follow.
That phrase is found in Eph. 3:17 — “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Just thinking with the scriptures that we already know, I’d like to ask this question, “What do you get if God the Father is faithful in answering just this one phrase from just this one prayer by the apostle Paul?”
We’re all human, right? We’re all concerned about what we “get” out of this thing called Christianity, right? What are the benefits of the Christian life? “What’s in it for me?” as some have phrased it. Well, that’s what I’d like to look at here. In order for the Bible to have any value for any of us, it has to become personally relevant in our lives today, so … what’s in it for you, personally … if God answers just one phrase … from one prayer by this great apostle – for you? What do you receive if Christ “dwells in your heart through faith”?
The living, resurrected Christ is filled with so many qualities that it’s hard to identify a “most important,” and run down a hierarchy of human needs list, so let’s begin with a scriptural “overview” of sorts, found in Col. 2:9-10 in The Bible In Basic English version:
“For in him all the wealth of God’s being has a living form, and you are complete in him, who is the head of all rule and authority”
Have you ever gotten the feeling that you just aren’t quite “all there”; that there’s an “emptiness” inside of you that needs “something” to fill the void? What’s missing? What could end the frustration and make you feel whole?
In today’s world, “personal fulfillment” is a hot item. There are thousands of options for the person with enough wealth to choose from, and the wealthiest among us are able to get “the best.” Why do so many of the rich and famous come to a miserable end in life … with the same internal void, grown into a publicly exposed, embarrassing chasm of emptiness … no better off than a pauper?
Paul’s solution for the emptiness of life can be had for the price of a prayer! And Paul viewed it as having a value so great that he gave up a “lifestyle of the rich and famous” in the society of his day to attain the answer to that prayer. His attitude is reflected in Phil. 3:8:
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Next week, we’ll take a more detailed look at what Christ “brings to the table”, when He answers that prayer, and “dwells in your heart through faith.”