So many people believe in God and yet,they feel powerless in this world. So, they pray to Him for power. That seems to make sense, right? But what if instead of praying for
power, He wants us to pray with power.One of the most exciting things that I know about God – and I’m grinning ear-to- ear with joy as I think about this – is that He delights in empowering
‘little people’,common, ordinary, garden-variety people like you and me. Some of us might imagine that the ones whom God empowers are the big names, or the big preachers, or the big leaders. I’m sureHe does do that; at least, with some of them.But it’s the‘little people’in the pews, whom He also delights in empowering.
Praying With Power
Now, that’s important because so often the little people feel as though God’s power is only for the ‘super Christians’ (whatever we think those people might look like). But actually,
God’s power is for anyone and everyone who puts their trust in Jesus Christ, His Son. The reason I know this, is because of one of the many letters written by the early Christian
leader Paul, he wrote one particular letter to the ‘little people’ in the pews of a church in a place called Ephesus in Greece. That’s right, he wrote this letter to the whole Church; not just to the
elders or to the preacher. And in this letter, Paul tells these people in the pews in Ephesus, about how he prays for them. This is what he wrote: I keep asking the God of our Lord, Jesus
Christ, the glorious Father, that He may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him up from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the age to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the Church,which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.
I love the way that Paul starts off. He’s such a great guy – so direct and so ‘in our faces’. His prayer is that the ‘little people’ in the pews in Ephesus – and the rest of us, who believein Jesus – would get to know God better.He doesn’t pray here that we would sin less or that we would feel better about ourselves. Neither does he pray that God would use us more powerfully or that we would become mighty prayer warriors or ‘big’ people; or that we would be used by God to perform miracles … or anything else, for that matter. No, he doesn’t pray any of those things.Instead, Paul wants us to know God better. All of us in the pews. That includes you and me. He tells the good folk in Ephesus that he has been pleading with God that He would put His Spirit in them, so they would know Him better. Obviously, Paul knows that they need to know God better. But there’s another purpose behind this prayer. He also wants them to open up their eyes. In fact, he wants
God to open their eyes, and ours as well. I can hear him shouting, “Wake up!” (As only Paul could). “Wake up! Open your eyes! Have a look at this!” I pray also that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He’s called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
There are three things Paul aches for his beloved friends in Ephesus to see with their eyes opened by God:
1. The certain hope of the future they have in Christ.
2. The riches of their inheritance in Christ;and … wait for it …
3. The incomparably great power for us who believe.
Now, I’m definitely no great scholar of Greek,the ancient language in which Paul originally wrote. Like most people, I have to rely on the linguistic work done by translators and scholars so that I can read God’s Word in English. To understand the full force of what Paul is saying here, I rely on a great teacher and colleague of mine, Dr Barry Chant. Back when I was studying under him as a student at Bible College, Barry said something along these lines: “If I were to transliterate the Greek words that Paul uses here to describe the nature of the power that he wants us to wake up to, it would go something like this – ‘incomparably great power’ would sound more like ‘hyper ballistic, metaphonic, dynamic’ power.
Do you get the point?
Paul isn’t talking about some teensy weensy little bit of power. He’s not even talking about a moderate amount of power. He’s not even talking about a lot of power. He’s saying, “I’m praying for you, that you would get to know your God better.” Then you would know – finally wake up to the fact – that the power He has ready and waiting for you is ‘hyperballistic, megathonic dynamic’ power. And indeed, Paul is also letting us know that this power is for you and me. Because he goes on to explain in Ephesians 1:20 that it’s the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead. That same power is the power that God has for you, if you believe in Him. Now, it’s kind of a contradiction, given that we access that power by bowing our lives down in complete submission to God through Jesus Christ. We humble ourselves at the foot of the cross and we cry out, “God, it’s not about me; it’s about You.”
Through doing that, it’s really easy to develop what I call a ‘worm theology’. Psalm 22:6 says:But I am a worm and not a human, scorned by others and despised by people.God’s people know that, in the scheme of things, we’re not at the top of everything. God is. There is an enormous gulf between the pure heights reserved for God and the low, low, low state of affairs of sinful, imperfect humans.Recognising that fact should lead us to admitwhat is put simply in Psalm 22:6 – we are a‘ w o r m’,a bottom-feeder trying to survive in the dirt and grime of our existence.But the amazing point about realising this ‘worm theology’, when it comes to our low estate,is that God wants to restore us back into His image! That’s what he wants to do in our lives. He wants to adopt us back into His family, to give us hope, riches and power.
Not so we can misuse and abuse those things as we used to do for our own selfish gain. No! Not for that, but so that we can be His children, His agents of peace on planet Earth, in this warring world.And we’re restored back into His image, we can be His light to shine out His glory into this dark and lost world. As we start to live out that sort of life – the sorts of life He always intended
for us to live – it truly does become all about Him. But at the same time, He fills us with His joy and a peace and a wonder through this laying down of our lives, which words simply cannot
Do you believe in Jesus? Are you one of these weak sinners on your knees before God? If so, then those three things that Paul prayed for in Ephesians Chapter 1 are for you. The hope, the
riches and the power are for you and me, here and now. So if you do believe in Jesus, it’s time for you to stop praying for power. It’s time to stop asking God for power because His word clearly tells us that this incomparably great power – this hyperballistic, megathonic dynamic power – is already ours. It’s time to take the little bit of faith that we’ve got in our hearts and start praying with power, here and now. Let’s give this a moment to sink in. What God wants us to do is let the Holy Spirit etch God’s Word onto our hearts. Instead of praying for power, it’s time to start praying with power, the hyperballistic, megathonic dynamic power that God has already given us.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that God has already given you.
I keep asking the God of our Lord, Jesus
Christ, the glorious Father, that He may
give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know Him better. I pray
also that the eyes of your heart would be
enlightened in order that you may know the
hope to which He has called you, the riches of
His glorious inheritance in the saints and His
incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of His mighty
strength which He exerted in Christ when He
raised Him up from the dead and seated Him
at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far
above all rule and authority and power and
dominion and every title that can be given,
not only in the present age but also in the
age to come. And God placed all things under
His feet and appointed Him to be head over
everything for the Church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in