“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”—Ephesians 3:14-21
Here is another prayer we should pray often for ourselves and others. As we learned last time, Paul did not pray for the physical well-being of the believers at Ephesus, however important that was, but now he turns his attention to praying that they might experience both the power and love of God.
Notice the following features of this prayer. First, he prays that we will be strengthened in the “inner man” that place within us that can only be changed by the power of God. Although the outer man grows weaker, the inner man can be renewed day by day; this is a reference to the depths of our being where the Spirit resides and does His work.
Second, he prays that that “Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith.” At first blush we might think that this is a strange prayer for Christians to pray because Christ already dwells in our hearts; indeed Paul repeatedly makes it clear that all believers are in Christ. But the Greek word “to dwell” does not just mean that Christ is present, but rather that He is at home in our hearts. The question is: does Jesus reside in our hearts as a tolerated visitor or as an honored and most welcome guest?
D.A. Carson writes, “Make no mistake: when Christ first moves into our lives, He finds it in very bad repair.” (A Call to Spiritual Reformation, p.187). Soon after He takes up residence, the Lord begins His work.
In his booklet, My Heart Christ’s Home, Robert Munger pictures our heart where Jesus has been invited. He goes from room to room, from the library (our minds) to the dinning room (where our desires reside), through the living room (where we invite our guests to stay), and even into the closets where sins are safely hidden. Jesus, in making this tour, sadly finds that our “house” is inhabited with many selfish desires and sinful “guests.” And, He even insists, that we give Him the key to the closets of our hearts where are sins are safely stored away from the prying eyes of others. And when we do give Him the key, He helps us throw out the trash as He cleanses us and gives us the satisfaction that at last, He is beginning to “feel at home” in our hearts.
The more comfortable Christ is at home, the better we will grasp the love of God in all of its breadth, length, height, and depth. When we honor Christ, all of this is fulfilled in our lives.
Read this prayer out loud; in fact, whenever we pray Scripture, we should pray it out loud, if possible. Of course, this not for God’s benefit, since He can hear the faintest whisper, it’s for our better concentration and focus.
Let Us Pray
Father, I pray that You will give me the power to let Christ renovate my heart so that He might feel very much at home within me. I give Him the key to every room; I invite him into my mind, my emotions, and even the closets where sin is so securely hidden. Father, for this I do need divine power.
And I pray for _______ who also needs to let Christ be at home in their life; I ask that Jesus will not only be welcomed, but feel alive in their heart.
And now I pray with Paul……(Read the entire prayer)
In Jesus’ name, Amen.