The apostle Paul had a prayer for the Ephesians. Ephesians 1:17-21 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which 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 principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
First of all, he prayed that they would be given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him and that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened. Simply put, I understand this to say that Paul wanted God to give the Ephesians a better knowledge and understanding of Himself. It is very important for us to understand God. I believe that one of the main purposes of the Bible is to help us understand God – who He is, His nature, how He has dealt with mankind since Adam and Eve, why He sent His Son to the earth, how we can be justified before Him, how we can please Him and how we can glorify Him.
One of the reasons Jesus came to the earth was to help us understand God the Father. John 14:6-9 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?’” By knowing Jesus, we come to know the Father. We read how Jesus lived and interacted with the people of His time and we come to know God also: His compassion, love, patience, impatience with hypocrisy, forgiveness, and many other characteristics.
It is good for us to read the Bible and understand about God. But the apostle Paul prayed that God would reveal Himself to the Ephesians and enlighten them. As we draw closer to God, I believe He will reveal Himself more to us. James 4:8a “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Do you want to know God more? Continue to read and study the Bible and seek to understand the nature of God. But also pray that He will reveal Himself to you and “your understanding being enlightened”. We have an awesome God that we need to know better. As we do, we can serve and worship Him better.
Then there are three additional things that the apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know. The first is “that you may know what is the hope of His calling”. We are called through the gospel that we might obtain the glory of Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus has been resurrected, He has been glorified, and He is now at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Our hope is to also be resurrected and obtain the glory of Jesus – this is our hope. What a hope! What does it mean to obtain the glory of Jesus? The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know it, and we can pray that we would also know it. If we appreciate this hope that we have, then we can with patience wait for it (Romans 8:25).
The second is “that you may know … what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” 1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Jesus said in John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” The book of the Revelation describes the holy city we inherit. It describes the glory of it with a foundation of beautiful stones, the city of pure gold and the gates of pearl. The glory of God illuminates it and the Lamb is its light. These descriptions provide a small insight into the riches of the glory of the inheritance. We should know that it is something worth desiring and obtaining!
The third is “that you may know … the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.” The God who used his great power to create the universe also raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him high above all other powers. This same mighty power of God can be used toward us who believe. Nothing is impossible for us with the power of God on our side. Jesus said in Mark 10:27b “For with God all things are possible”. When we try to do things with our own power, our power is weak and we accomplish little. Romans 8:31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Oh that we could appreciate the power of God toward us who believe!
To summarize, Paul wanted the Ephesians to know God. Then, there are three additional things that the apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know: what is the hope of His calling; what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. I encourage you to seek and pray to know these things as well. They should have a great impact on how you live your life.