In Ephesians, Paul writes to an established group of believers seeking to live lives that bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. He praises God for them, especially for their faith in Jesus and their love for the saints, then lifts up a prayer on their behalf. He prays
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…” (vs. 17-20).
Paul prays that God would give the Ephesians the Holy Spirit in a way that was real and evident, that these believers would experience the greatness of who God is in and for them! As ones whom the Lord saved, they already had the Holy Spirit’s presence within them.
This is not a prayer for the Holy Spirit to become present, but rather a prayer for believers to realize the power of having the Holy Spirit present!
Paul prays that this fresh experience would enlighten the eyes of their hearts. He prays their vision would be focused differently from the way our natural human eyes see the world.
These enlightened eyes would see the hope of our salvation, the riches of our inheritance, and the power through which we are able to live the new life to which we are called. Paul prays that his siblings in Christ can see life through a new lens. In his own salvation experience described in Acts 9, Paul was physically blinded. Once the scales fell off, his vision was transformed. He understood a higher calling on his life. He saw former enemies as friends and saw those who lived as he once did as lost souls in need of the gospel. He had a new hope for which to live! His new perspective transformed how he saw his circumstances, himself, and the people around him. Making the gospel known among his Hebrew kin and to the Gentiles became his superseding goal. He knew that he could not accomplish anything in his own power, but through the power of the one who sent him, through the power of the one who sends us all. Paul’s prayer expresses his desire that all believers have their eyes opened!
This is how we should pray for one another. This is how we need to see, and how we need to live our lives.
As we interact with brothers and sisters in Christ, unsaved loved ones, and complete strangers, we need to see them through enlightened eyes.
As we face circumstances of celebration and victory or situations of sadness and defeat, we need to understand them in light of the gospel.
Even as we deal with our view of self, our struggles with temptation and sin, and our identity in Christ, we need Jesus to empower us to be honest, humble, and dependent on the Holy Spirit.
We are not meant to live this life alone, and I am thankful for Paul’s example of how to pray for my siblings in Christ, and for myself, as we strive to live in community and make God’s glory known through the gospel.
The Holy Spirit is a promised presence given to those who call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. His life-changing influence empowers believers to live, speak, and be the gospel in a world of sin, darkness, and deception. We need more people living and praying this way in order to encourage fellow believers, but also to truly impact our community, nation, and world with God’s power and presence. May we be men and women who are fully dependent on the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we seek to glorify him!