March 31, 2005
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from 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 through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…
How can we afford to give up control of our lives without giving in to the trials and pressures of life? Because of our great wealth and our great worth in Jesus. This is what captured Paul’s attention in the early verses of Ephesians 3. He actually started to offer his prayer in verse 1, but the thought of god’s gracious work among the Gentiles sent Paul into a thirteen-verse digression on the glorious revelation that had been given to him.
With all of this glorious truth flooding his heart, Paul returned to his original thought. A self-sufficient, self-satisfied man or woman will seldom pray. But a person who lives in dependence upon God, and humbly recognizes that God and God alone is the source of strength, is learning how to give up foolish self-sufficiency without giving in to circumstances or to the Enemy.
The conditions under which Paul wrote the book of Ephesians are a classic example of giving up without giving in. He wrote this letter to the Ephesians from prison, so he had given up a lot, including his freedom.
But Paul also recognized that he was not simply a prisoner of the Romans. He was “the prisoner of Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:1), arrested in God’s will to further His kingdom. So instead of giving in to despair or bitterness, Paul’s spirit was soaring as he wrote about being seated “in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
Notice the humility and submission with which Paul prayed. He was on his knees before the Lord—a beautiful expression of dependence upon God. Paul was demonstrating the heart attitude of someone who has made Jesus Christ eh Lord of his life. Bowing before God in prayer also acknowledges that He reigns and rules over our lives, and that there is nowhere else we can go but to Him.
FIND YOUR STRENGTH ON YOUR KNEES—
PRAYING IN TOTAL DEPENDENCE UPON GOD.