OnePrayer – Day 2

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OnePrayer Devotion – Day 2

Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

From House to Home

Today we will focus on verses 16-17a, but please read the passage again.

Paul is praying for something to happen in the “inner being” or the “heart” of Ephesians. For Westerners, the word “heart” epitomizes the center of our emotions. It’s where we feel, but for the Hebrews, the concept of “heart” was much broader. It was the center of everything. Your heart controls your thinking, your decisions, your opinions, your motivations, and your morality, as well as your feelings. Your heart drove you. It represented the very core of your being.

When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes and positions himself in your heart. He enters the center of your life and influences everything. In 1 Cor. 6:19, Paul says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”. Here, Paul is praying the Spirit will do his work in the Ephesians’ hearts so Christ can live there.

This isn’t very clear. Is Paul saying the Spirit lives in our hearts, but we have to pray Christ will live there too? Does the Spirit prepare the way for Jesus? That doesn’t make sense. The Trinity members, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have different roles but work together. Jesus comes into our lives with the Holy Spirit when we become Christians. That’s why we sometimes describe the process of becoming a Christian as “asking Jesus into your heart” Jesus is living in the heart of every Christian.

To understand this part of Paul’s prayer, we need to explore the meaning of the Greek word translated as “dwell” (3:17). When I moved to Bracken Ridge to pastor a new church, the church rented a house for our young family. It was a nice place and was ours in a way, but we couldn’t do everything we wanted with the house because it also belonged to someone else. After 12 months of living there, we took the opportunity to buy the house. Immediately it became our home. It was ours. If we wanted to remove walls, we did so without a second thought. This house was now completely ours. This is what “dwell” signifies. When Jesus dwells in our hearts (3:17), he is not a temporary tenant there, but he is the owner of the whole place. He has settled down there, and he does what he chooses.

Our hearts are often crowded places with lots of tenants. Jesus lives at the center of our lives, but so do our fears, curses, idols, passions, pain, habits, etc. When it comes to our behavior or choices, many residents are clamoring to have their say at the center of our lives, and Jesus’ voice can be ignored.

Paul is praying the Spirit will powerfully work, so we have the strength to evict the other tenants. This way, Jesus can have the whole place. The house of our life becomes his home. He can do whatever he wants in us and through us. Wouldn’t that be great in your life? Free to please Jesus – not constantly fighting with all those powerful influences that oppose our following Jesus. Of course, that seems impossible for us, but it is what Paul prayed for, so we should be praying the same way.

There appears to be a progression in Paul’s prayer. Jesus fully dwelling in our hearts is the first crucial step towards experiencing a work of God in and through our lives beyond our wildest dreams. Turning our hearts from Jesus’ house to his home is where it starts.

You could make Paul’s prayer your prayer today (perhaps you could kneel again): “I pray that out of my Father’s glorious riches, he may strengthen me with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith.” Of course, for such a significant transformation, you will need to keep praying this prayer.