August 5, 2019. Ephesians 3:14-19. Praying in Christ part 1: Nothing New.

Ephesians 3:14-19. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We launch now into what might be the most beautiful prayer in all of scripture (sorry Lord’s Prayer). It is Paul’ second prayer in this letter. The first one was back in chapter 1. It was primarily a prayer for a knowledge and understanding of God’s grace, whereas we might consider our prayer here in chapter 3 as a prayer for an experience of God’s grace.

And that is exactly how to pray in Christ.

Because we are in Christ and Christ is in us there is NOTHING NEW to pray for. No new blessing. No new experience. No new movement of God. No new calling.

TV shows are just the same thing over and over. Like God’s grace in our lives.

How does Paul pray for this church? 1) He prays that they will know what they have in Christ and then 2) he prays that they will experience what they already have in Christ. But he never prays for “more.” He never prays that they’ll get more of the Spirit or get back the Spirit that they lost. He never prays for a new experience. Just an ongoing experience of the New Covenant.

Take a look at the prayer again. What do you see? That’s right. It’s all the same words and truths that we’ve already seen in Ephesians in chapters 1-2.
3:16. according to the riches of his glory
1:6-8. 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us

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3:16. he may grant you to be strengthened with power

1:19. and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

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3:16 through his Spirit in your inner being

1:13. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit

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3:17. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

2:22. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

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3:17. that you, being rooted and grounded in love
1:4-5. In love 5 he predestined us

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3:18. may have strength to comprehend

1:8. which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

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3:19. and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge

2:4. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us

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3:19. that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

2:21-22. 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

“To live is Christ” should change how we pray. What do you pray for? Is it something new? Maybe what union with Christ means is that there is no new work of God to pray for. But rather we pray for an experience of the already completed work of God in us.

Spend time with this song.

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