Ephesians is one of the mountain peaks of Biblical revelation and has a unique place among Paul's letters. Rather than being hammered out on the anvil of doctrinal controversy or pastoral problems as many of Paul's other letters were, Ephesians conveys the impression of an overflow of revelation growing out of Paul's personal prayer life. Paul wrote this letter while a prisoner on behalf of Christ, most likely in Rome. Ephesians has numerous similarities with Colossians and probably was penned shortly after Colossians.
It's commonly believed that Paul wrote Ephesians with a wider readership in mind than just the church in Ephesus, possibly intending to serve as a circular letter for churches throughout the province of Asia. Originally, each church in Asia Minor may have inserted its name in chapter one, verse one, testifying to the relevance of its profound message for all true churches of Jesus Christ. Many think Ephesians is the so-called letter to the Laodiceans mentioned by Paul in Colossians 4 verse 16.
Paul's immediate purpose for writing Ephesians is implied in chapter one, verses 15 through 17. He prayerfully longs for his readers to advance in faith, love, wisdom, and revelation of the Father of glory. He earnestly desires they grow in Christian character and live lives worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul, therefore, seeks to strengthen their faith and spiritual foundations by revealing the fullness of God's eternal purpose of redemption in Christ for the church and everyone.
Now, as we dive into Ephesians One, I want to invite you to think about the last time someone was unexpectedly generous toward you. When a coworker drops everything to join you in the waiting room or a relative pays off your mission trip, it moves you to reach out. Acts of generosity tend to do that. It compels us to ask why and to want to get to know the person behind the gift. Ephesians 1:3 reminds us that every blessing we receive comes from God. He has been more generous toward us than we can ever fully comprehend. Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus is that God’s immense generosity would draw them into a closer relationship with Him. Paul prays for them and us, “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). God invites us into an intimate, family relationship — like that of a father, mother and child. There is nothing we need that God can not provide. None of our hurt or pain goes unnoticed. The same way that we delight in seeing our kids enjoy what we’ve provided to them, God delights in seeing us delight in Him. Knowing God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” should compel us to pray more. Prayer is the way we get to know the generous, all-powerful God who has adopted us as His children. Prayer can be more than a grocery list of wants and needs. When we approach prayer as a heartfelt conversation with our heavenly Father, prayer becomes a safe place to share our hopes, dreams, doubts, and fears. So today, as we take a moment to reflect, ask yourself,
What does your prayer time look like? On a scale of 1 to 10, how honest are you with God?
Also, what’s one thing you have not talked openly with God about? Take a few minutes today to tell God what you really feel, then leave some space to listen to what your Father has to say. One of my favorite acronyms when it comes to prayer is PRAY! Which stands for Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield. I think Yielding is something we can easily neglect. Yielding is waiting, listening, and opening ourselves to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Don’t neglect what your Father wants to speak to you today.