I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. - Vs 16-19 (NLT)
Here is another one of Paul's incredible prayers for the church. It gives us real insight into how Paul viewed the needs of the believers of his day, but it also reflects what we need as we attempt to live out our faith in this generation.
Paul's prayer revolves around the love of God. First, he prays that the Holy Spirit would give us inner strength. The New American Standard Bible says, "to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man." The idea is that we would continue to grow in strength. The result of that increasing internal strength is an increasing dependence on Christ. As we grow in Spirit-empowered strength in our inner man, we live increasingly more by faith, allowing Christ to inhabit and influence our lives as we learn to trust Him. We also begin to discover the reality of God's incredible love for us. It is measureless and incomprehensible. We can't fully understand it or explain it, but we can experience it and live in it every day of our lives. And Paul is praying that we would experience it. Not just talk about it, but experience it. We tend to relegate the love of Christ to what He did at Calvary. But He continues to express His love to us every single day in a variety of ways. Paul is praying that we would begin to recognize that love in all the details of our lives. We would see it, recognize it, comprehend it, appreciate it, be grateful for it, and live in it. The result will be that we are filled up with the fullness of God. We will be filled with His love, His power, His presence, His peace, His joy, His wisdom, His Son.
But it all begins with love. A growing comprehension of just how much Jesus Christ loves us. He loved us enough to die for us, but He also loves us enough to live within us. The presence of His Holy Spirit is an expression of His love. The power the Holy Spirit provides is proof of His love. His Spirit helps us grow in our understanding and recognition of the countless ways Christ expresses His love to us each and every day. But we can't see it because we are living in the flesh. Our inner man is controlled by sinful, selfish desires that lie to us and tell us that Christ can't love us because He won't let us have what we want. We begin to believe that it is the things of this world that give us joy, peace, and contentment. We turn to confuse the love of Christ with the love of pleasure. And we begin to trust in and turn to the creation instead of the Creator for our satisfaction. That's why Paul prays that we would have inner strength to trust Christ and recognize His matchless love for us. We need to Holy Spirit's power to say no to the flesh and yes to Jesus. We need His strength to help us trust Christ and not ourselves. As we do, we will begin to see just how much we are loved and we will begin to overflow with the things of God. Now isn't that a prayer you'd love to see answered in your life?
Father, I want to be filled up with your fullness. I want to begin to understand just how much You love me. Give me the strength I need through the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I might stop giving in to my own sinful flesh and the lies of the world. Help me to trust Your Son more and more and to live in the reality of Your love. Amen