Ephesians 1:17-18
Intelligent Prayer

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

In his first prayer in this book of Ephesians, Paul addresses God above and beyond that with which the Jewish believers would have used. Certainly it was far more real than those who had worshipped the idol Diana would have known. Instead of “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” or the goddess Diana, Paul’s words are addressed to the One, through the One and by the One who is the highest authority in the universe. Our God is the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is the “Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” The Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer has reconciled us to God, and has ascended to His Father who is now our Father. Our prayers and praises are all mediated by Him who has made us accepted in Himself. It is no small or trivial act to address the Almighty Eternal God. This is not like having a chat with an earthly human father. We are speaking to the Supreme Authority in the universe, the “Father of glory.” He is the Originator of all glory, and the glory we will see at the end of our journey will come from Him who is “all glorious above,” to whom we give all glory today and with whom we will share that future glory.

Paul’s affectionate prayer for the believers at Ephesus gives us a sense of the importance and holiness that should be in evidence when we pray. This prayer is not just a casual stroll to the throne of grace “to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” These are words of earnest supplication made on behalf of others. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives to us the illumination of divine things and the spiritual knowledge to understand what God has for us. To be able to grasp the truths of God and apply it to ourselves is because of wisdom and revelation the Holy Spirit reveals to us. He reveals Christ to us. He reveals the future to us. He gives us the understanding as to how this can be made personal to us. In order for us to have “the knowledge of Him,” and the personal acquaintance with Him that is the substance of our relationship with the Lord, the Holy Spirit works for us and in us. To know God and the Lord Jesus Christ is what eternal life is. But it is not enough for us to have only an acquaintanceship with Him. We need intimate knowledge that comes with hearing and speaking together. We need the kind of knowledge that comes from shared experiences. That is what Paul was praying for on behalf of the assembly of believers at Ephesus who were already doing well in their Christian faith.

Our eyes are only a means by which information is transmitted from the source to our minds so we can process that information and make it a part of us. “The eyes of our understanding” are to our soul the ways God teaches His truth to us. Natural eyes give information to our body. Spiritual eyes of understanding give information to our soul and spirit. By nature our understanding has been darkened by sin. We were unable to know anything about God. But when our hearts have been cleansed from sin by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, light comes into our soul. By the light of the Word of God, by the grace of God and His love toward us, we have been made to live in Christ. Now we are able to understand those things to which we were blinded by sin. Now we can know God. Now we can see what He has done for us and what He wants from us. Now we can understand where we fit in the divine scheme of things and know what is ahead of us.

“The hope of our calling” is not some vague feeling that makes us think the future will be better than what we have now. The Holy Spirit assures us that we are involved in a work of God that is eternal in its consequences. There are going to be better days ahead. Evil will be dealt with ultimately and thoroughly. Righteousness will come and there will be peace on earth and good will to men. Wrong does not win over right. The Holy Spirit lets us know these things and more. He reveals to us through the Word of God that we have a part in all God is doing now and in the future. We will be participants in all of the benefits we hope for in the glory yet to come. This hope is an assured fact. But also, there are “riches of glory” involved in this inheritance for which we look. There is an abundance of the riches that is beyond our capacity to understand now because of our natural human limitations.

Suffice it to say that the Holy Spirit has given us enough wisdom and understanding that we are challenged to persevere in the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. There is not reason to be weary in well-doing, “for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not.” From God’s inexhaustible storehouse of grace comes the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” That is enough to keep us going on for Him a whole lifetime. When we start to think thoughts like God, then we will begin to understand how much He thinks about us. When we think His thoughts about us, then we can begin to think how much He thought about the Lord Jesus Christ who “always did those things that pleased the Father.”

I am caused to consider how little I know
Of effective prayer from my place here below
The heavens above where the throne of grace is set
To take our requests and from feeble words beget
An answer that far exceeds my original request,
Because my Father in heaven knows what is the best
Way to give the answers in peace that are needed,
And the outcome of my prayer to which He has heeded.

It is enough to me to know that when I pray
The Father in heaven knows much more than I say –
And can read my thoughts while they are still intentions –
And moves to answer the petitions with divine interventions.
The results that He grants are much more than I asked –
So with grace and compassion gave His answers in peace –
And the anxiety that prompted prayer is kindly released.

Often in prayer there are thoughts unexpressed –
That are hidden inside one’s spirit and on it is pressed
The thought that beyond what I can know or say –
Are issues that only God knows and can deal with today.
Someday however, when our hope is revealed –
Perhaps God will show us what He has concealed –
Because he knew our limitations, and so on our behalf,
The Mediator who knows all things brought the best things to pass.

“Father, I thank Thee for Thy grace and patience towards me. I am so unable to pray right that I have to place it all in the hands of the Mediator and Advocate. I know that He is able to bring to the throne of grace that which is really needed to be said because of His infinite wisdom and understanding. Thanks so much again, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”

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