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Paul's Prayer for Future Grace
September 5, 2007
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
There’s been a big stirring about the prayer of Jabez, the “Papa” prayer, and always, the Lord’s prayer. Today, however, I want to focus our attention to an apostolic prayer, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-19. We could call it a prayer for future grace to know the love of Christ in order to be filled with all the fullness of God through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to pray this prayer for God’s called-out ones. It not only reflects the desire of the heart of the apostle but also the desire of the heart of the Holy Spirit.
For this cause I bend my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be
strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ
may dwell in your hearts through faith; in order that you, being
rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend together
with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height;
and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, in order
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3.14-19)
Believing Jews and Gentiles must live in harmony. The called-out ones have a high calling to display God’s iridescent wisdom to the principalities and authorities in heavenly places. This harmony, this coming together as “one new man,” will be achieved by the indwelling Christ and by the impartation of strength from the Holy Spirit. Believers will achieve their high calling as they come to know the love of Christ in all its dimensions so as to be filled to all the fullness of God.
This is a work of grace and requires prayer that God may grant the strengthening by the Spirit deep inside where we live, where Christ dwells and desires to dwell. It has a purpose—in order that as we are rooted and grounded in love, we may surpass knowledge in a “knowing.” The goal is to be filled to all the fullness of God. (cf. John 1.16)
On bended knee, Paul postures humility, solemnity, adoration, and an attitude of reverence. He makes his prayer to the Father as Creator and as Redeemer. God is the Father to whom both Jew and Gentile have access through Christ alone in one Spirit (Ephesians 2.18). He is not the Father/Redeemer of all people, but He is the Origin/Creator of all people. God is the Father of the whole family, in heaven and on earth. He is the Father of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant in heaven, one family. All believers have their names written in one book of life. While on earth, God is your Father. When you die and go to heaven, God is your Father. Every day the praise of the entire Church, on earth and in heaven, can be heard by our Father. (Cf. Hebrews 12.22, 23; 13.7; Rev. 4.1; Rev. 7.13-17; e.g.)
We cannot separate Christ from the Spirit of Christ. In the Spirit, Christ Himself inhabits the inner self (cf. Galatians 2.20; 3.2). The focus is on the heart, the mainspring of dispositions, the place from which desires are birthed (Matt. 15.19; 22.37; Phil. 1.7; 1 Timothy 1.5). Out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4.23).
This indwelling comes “through faith.” Faith is the hand that accepts God’s gifts. Faith is the hand that takes the Word, the promises of God and His covenant of grace, to Him. The Word is the currency of heaven. As we take the Word in our hand to God, we exchange it into the reality of that Word, so that it can be realized in our lives. As we hold out our hand, God takes the Word in our hand and gives us the manifestation of that Word. That Word becomes a living Word as the Spirit breathes life into it.
This faith works by love. (Galatians 5.6) And what does Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit desire from his innermost being?
1. That the Father would grant you to be strengthened with might by means of His Spirit in the inner man, or inner self.
2. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, in order
3. That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; in order
4. That you might be filled with/to all the fullness of God.
Being filled with all the fullness of God is not a condition of perfection which leaves nothing more to be desired. Jesus, the Incarnate Christ, has the Holy Spirit without measure. He was perfect, born without sin, and could always be found doing those things which please the Father. Being full of the Holy Spirit, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (Luke 4.1) He was further perfected by temptations and by the learning of obedience in the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5.8, 9; Philippians 2) He grew in wisdom and stature, in maturity.
Fullness prepares us for living and working as children of God. We are to strive for this fullness. It is our destiny and should be our desire. It is a blessing, and certainly, an operation of God according to the riches of His glory. We can’t live the Christian life without the indwelling Christ and the impartations of the Holy Spirit. By the grace of God, after we have been declared justified freely by grace, we are to become all that God has declared us to be by trusting Him for future grace. Be, and you will do.
The Holy Spirit wants to reveal Jesus to every believer, not just a head knowledge, but a “knowing.” He wants a relationship of deep, divine unity and oneness. (See John 17.)
The seed of life has been planted in the believer in love, God’s love. The believer has been rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. The Holy Spirit sheds that love abroad in the heart. This love is pure, holy, harmless, infinite, unlimited, patient, and without a lie. Love is what God has demonstrated to us. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Love lays down its life. Love seeks not its own. Love requires absolute surrender and death to sin, death to self, a renouncing of Satan and the world. Love doesn’t think about sacrifice as a giving up, but as a giving to, because love gives graciously, gladly, generously, and obediently.
God wants you to see and know the love He has for you. He wants you to see and know the gift of His Son and of His Spirit. You need to get your hands on your wealth in Christ. Take in your hand the wealth of the Word to the Father of Glory and ask Him to operate on your heart and fill you with all the fullness of God. Ask God for enlightenment, that the eyes of your mind may be opened to understand and that the eyes of your heart be opened to receive all that God has for you in Jesus. Pray for enablement, as Paul does here. Then you will walk to please Him (Ephesians 4, 5) and stand against the devil (Ephesians 6). Pursue until you know you are loved by God and His favor rests upon you.
God gives according to His riches. This is a portion, not a pittance. He wants His love to nourish you and stabilize you. He wants you grounded with roots strong enough and deep enough to withstand the storms and the trials. Apprehend—lay hold of it for yourself. Lay hold of Christ.
Positionally, you are filled. Practically, you are filled as you apprehend by faith. You take the Word in your hand to the Father and ask Him to make it so in you, in your life. Behold the glory of Jesus’ love for you and then become what you behold. Pray Paul’s apostolic prayer. Let me know what happens!
You make a lasting difference in so many lives as you help us meet the challenges of ministering to the many coming to Craighouse® and to www.marycraig.org from around the world. Just recently, one woman was healed of breast cancer, another had a breakthrough in a legal matter that had gone on for 9 years, and yet another testified to having her job kept by her employer after an injury. Men and women, families, hear the gospel and grow in an atmosphere of grace. The anointing continues to strengthen, and people are bringing people to help and hope in Jesus as the Word and the Spirit go forth in power at Craighouse®. At MCM people are touched by the power of the Father’s love.
Help us continue our mission to bring healing and restoration to the Body of Christ, to prepare the Bride for His return, and to go to the nations where God sends us, calling them to repentance and resurrection. We praise God for you as you give graciously, gladly, generously, and as the Holy Spirit guides. Thank you!
Praying for you,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org. Order books from our Catalog section, using PayPal Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above
All that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all
Ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3.20, 21)
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