Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

What Do You See with the Eyes of Your Heart?

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19a

Have you ever traveled to another country on a missions’ trip? When you returned home, did you wonder if those who professed belief in Jesus Christ were continuing in their faith?

Paul stayed in Ephesus for more than two years on one of his missionary journeys. Ephesus was famous both for its temple, which honored the Greek goddess Artemis, and its sorcerers. Paul spoke boldly in this port city, and God worked miracles through him. Many who heard the gospel believed in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13). But did they continue in their faith after Paul left?

Later, when Paul was in prison in Rome, he heard that the Ephesians’ faith and love were steadfast (Ephesians 1:15 and 3:1). He thanked God for their faithfulness and continued to pray for them (Ephesians 1:16).

Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesians spiritual wisdom and revelation so that they would know God better (Ephesians 1:17). He asked God to enlighten the eyes of their hearts (Ephesians 1:18). He wanted them to use spiritual eyes, not just physical eyes.

Paul also prayed that they would know “the hope to which He has called you” (v. 18). He told them that their hope was based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ  and His ascension to heaven where He sits at God’s right hand. Hope is another spiritual quality that can’t be seen with physical eyes, and yet we can see the effects of hope in someone’s life. Peace and joy are the fruit of hope.

Do you pray with “the eyes of your heart”—not just for physical needs but also for spiritual needs? Do you thank God continually for fellow believers, the ones you see and others all around the world? Do you remember the hope to which He has called you—your identity as a child of God and your inheritance?

DIG DEEPER:

Read Ephesians 3:14-19. What else did Paul ask God to give the Ephesians? Which parts of Paul’s prayer could be added to your prayers—more love, more power, something else?

Read Ephesians 1:19-23. Which power of God did Paul emphasize in his letter? What message would that have given to those who had renounced sorcery and/or goddess worship?

In Ephesians 3:2-12 Paul tells how he, “less than the least of all God’s people,” had been called by God to preach to Gentiles. Have you ever felt totally inadequate to do something God called you to do? Which of the things Paul mentions can you also draw upon for strength and confidence?

Are you a saint? In the New Testament he word saints refer to believers in Jesus Christ. It means “holy ones.” Christians are holy because they are connected with Christ and have received His righteousness. Saints are called and set apart by God for his service. See a concordance or cross references for other biblical occurrences of the word “saints.”*

Nancy J. Baker

* http://www.blueletterbible.org

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