**The prayers that Paul prayed in the Bible are prophetic promises, guaranteed to be answered, as the Holy Spirit gave them to Paul as an apostle of God. They are what God wants to do in the human heart to bring it to maturity in God. Let’s look at one of them.**
In Eph. 3:17-19, Paul describes the greatest heights of glory that God makes available to the human heart in this life. There is no experience greater than what Paul sets forth in this passage.
- Paul gives us a clear picture of where God wants to bring His people. To receive this as a realistic life vision, is to enter into a lifestyle that is most demanding, but leads to what is ultimately most rewarding.
–The higher a mountain climber goes up the mountain the more difficult it is. The same for the progression God gives us here. Yet, it is more rewarding, the higher we go to. There needs to be something in us where, we deeply want all that God will give the human heart. To make this simple, I take the first part of this prayer, and as I think of it, through out the day, I pray ‘strengthen me with might by your Spirit.’ Or at ihop, or watching ihop i pray the prayer with the sets.
14 I bow my knees to the Father…15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 THAT He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 THAT Christ may dwell (release His presence) in your hearts (mind, emotions, will) through faith (confidence);
THAT you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height —
19 to know (experiential intimacy) the love (affection) of Christ which passes knowledge;
THAT you may be filled with all the fullness of God (destiny for each stage of our lives). (Eph. 3:14-19)
This prayer is a significant theological statement of how to cultivate intimacy with God and experience the deep things of God. It presents the biblical pattern for pursuing God.
10 For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 12 We have received…the Spirit…that we might know the things that have been freely given to us… (1 Cor. 2:10-12)
Paul presents a 4-fold progression in our development and growth in the Spirit. This is seen in the 4 times he uses the word ‘that’ designating the 4 different stages of growth. The connecting phrases give us understanding of the sequence of progression in holy passion. Stage #1 is focused on asking for divine strength whereas, stage 2-4 gives us vision by revealing God’s promise of to release His presence and purpose in those who persevere love and obedience.
- Stage #1: prayer with fasting for God’s strength to preserve in our pursuit of 100-fold obedience (finances, time, speech, eyes) is in context to filling our minds with His Word. God determined to govern the universe by giving blessing related to how much His people ask Him.
You do not have because you do not ask. (Jas 4:2)
- Stage #2: breakthrough of Jesus’ powerful presence in our inner man (mind, emotions, will). This is the same as being rooted and grounded in love (from God, for God and others). The Ephesians had not experienced this breakthrough at the time in which Paul wrote this epistle.
- Stage #3: new ability to perceive and comprehend God at a new level and to be lost in the ocean of God’s love. Only the pure in heart can see the deep things of God’s heart. Wrong thinking and desires clouds the heart like smoke in our eyes. Purity is required to see God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)
- Stage #4: equip to fulfill God’s full purpose without being distracted by blessing (power, honor and prosperity). We journey to fullness is difficult with circumstantial blessing. Lucifer fell in the midst of great beauty, honor and power (Ezek. 28:12-17; Isa. 14:12-14)
23 Jesus said…, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt. 19:23-24)
Paul’s main prayer is that the saints at Ephesus receive strength to embrace a life of obedience required before they experience deep encounters with God power and presence (Eph. 3:17).
The unspoken premise in this passage is the previous teaching of Jesus revealing that God requires 100-fold obedience before the breakthrough of His presence in us. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…23 If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (Jn. 14:21-23)
We desperately need strength to walk in God’s requirement of 100-fold obedience. Jesus urged His disciples to pray for strength to overcome temptation. In other words, to receive strength to obey God.
He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”…45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” (Lk. 22:40, 45-46)
Paul meant for all Christians to understand and pursue what he set forth in this prayer.
Most Christians live in shallow Christianity because they have a wrong theology of the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23—God created man in three parts: Spirit or innermost man Soul or innerman Body
In man’s innermost man dwelt the uncreated God. In the innermost man is where God lives, but in the innerman is where God is experienced. The Holy Spirit lives in us, in our innermost man. Eph 3:16 uses the term innerman, John 7:38 says belly (rivers flowing out)
When God created man, He made him to walk in the consciousness of his Spirit. Until man walks in that consciousness again, no man or woman will ever live as God intended them to live.