“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 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…”—Ephesians 1:16-19
Have you ever prayed for something—perhaps for someone to be healed—and then you ended your prayer with, “if it be Your will”? I believe that’s proper to pray, especially when we’re not sure whether or not our request is in line with what God wants to do. When Jesus was in Gethsemane, He prayed, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” However, there are prayers we can pray where we do not have to add, “if it be Your will” because we know that we are praying right in line with God’s will; in other words, we are praying God’s will exactly.
That’s what happens when we pray the prayers of Paul who spent a great deal of time praying for others. His prayers always expressed what God’s desire was for His people. No need to add, “if it is Your will.”
Please reread this prayer and notice what Paul did not pray for: he did not ask that the believers in Ephesus be rich, or that they be healed physically, or even that they might be kept from suffering and persecution. When we pray such prayers—and those requests might be appropriate at times—we should add, “if it is Your will” for the simple reason that we do not know whether these matters are God’s desire or not. But when we pray for the spiritual realities for which Paul prayed, then we know that we are praying God’s will back to Him. This is God’s will for all of His people in all ages.
The prayer we are considering is among the grandest that we could ever pray for ourselves and others. If we prayed this prayer each day, we could never exhaust its depths, and we would soon see that we need these realities each day, twenty-four/seven.
There’s a story about how William Randolph Hearst once read about an extremely valuable piece of art that he thought should be added to his extensive collection. He instructed his agent to find it and pay for it at any price. After a painstaking search, the agent reported that it was found in Hearst’s warehouse and it had actually been his for many years!
Just so, most of the blessings we pray for are already our inheritance as God’s children, and along with Paul, we should pray that the believers might understand what they already have been given in Christ; the power and the experiences they have been longing for already belong to them.
This week, take your Bible and read the entire prayer (Ephesians 1:15-23) every single day; read it for different people, first for yourself, then for your family, and then for your church. You will discover unexpected strength and blessing from reading this prayer back to God. And in the end, you do not have to say, “If it be Your will!”
Let Us Pray
Father, I thank You for Paul who not only had a burden to pray for your people, but also, by divine relation, he understood what Your will is for each of us. So, I pray that You might now give me freedom in praying this prayer for _____ that they might come to experience all of the blessings that belong to us by faith in Christ.
Lord, expand the vision and understanding of _______ as I pray for them from this rich treasure of Your Word…I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…(read v.15-23).
In Jesus’ name, Amen.