Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians

Question #1 What does Paul pray for?

Paul starts off his prayer in Ephesian 3:14 with the words, “For this reason”.1  To understand what the reason is, the previous segment must be considered.  Verses 1-12 explain that while the ways of God had always been a mystery, His intent, through the church, was to reveal His wisdom so that He may be approached with freedom and confidence.  This is to show the believer that they are called for something far greater than their own salvation.  Paul is praying for the church to gain the understanding of God’s purpose for them so that they might have insight to His will. 2 God’s will was for the church to share the promises of Jesus Christ with the rest of the world, just as Paul had been doing.

Question #2 Why does he pray for this?

Paul knows that the church will face opposition so he prays that they will have the strength to endure, not according to their own physical abilities but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Paul knows that in order to reach the world, the church must love the world.  In order to love a broken, corrupt, vulgar world a believer must fully understand how exceedingly great the love of Christ is.  It is wide enough to include every single person, long enough to last forever, deep enough to reach the worst offender, and high enough to take His people to heaven. Paul’s desire is that church is deeply planted in the tender love of Christ4 so that they can share that love with the world and glorify God.

Question #3 What is the goal of praying for it?

Paul’s ultimate goal is for the church to become like Christ.  He wants them to be growing closer to perfection daily and to be filled with the fullness of God.  This is not for their own gain, but for God’s honor.  If the church is filled with the Spirit of God, they will exhibit faith and power that go beyond understanding.  The church needs to use this to share the gospel with the world.  James 2:17 states that, “faith, by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead”.  If God’s character is developed in the body of believers, then His glory can be seen through them.5

Question #4 What does “more than we ask or think” refer to?

There is no limit to what God can do.  Anything a believer could think, dream, ask, or pray for God can surpass.  The way God can do that is through His power at work inside the believer.  There may be people that feel they are not strong enough, educated enough, or bold enough to complete the calling on their lives.  Paul shows that this is true, they are not good enough.  God, however, can do all things!  If the believer accepts the Holy Spirit, He will give them the capacity to be effective in the world.   If one simply has faith, God can do incredible things through them which will bring Him glory for ever and ever.

1. Unless otherwise noted all Biblical references are from the New International Version
2. David Guzik, “Ephesians 3 – The Revealing of God’s Mystery,” Enduring Word, 2018,
3. Guzik, “Ephesians 3.”
4. Dr. Harrold L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc), 359.
5. Tim Jennings, “Pray for Spiritual Growth,” Focus Magazine, October 21, 2013.

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