16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
Reflection On This Scripture
For the believer, prayer should be like breathing. It’s that important! We are three chapters into the book of Ephesians and in verses 14-21 Paul is making his second prayer request. The next two days we are going to be dissecting Paul’s second prayer in the book of Ephesians. In keeping with the understanding that the One to whom he prays is the all-powerful Creator God, Paul makes his first petition, “that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being”. At the heart of this prayer for his readers is a request for power. Earlier in this letter he prayed that we might know God’s immeasurable power for those who believe (Eph 1:18-19). Now Paul is asking specifically for God to strengthen us inwardly through His Spirit. In Ephesians 3:13 we see the reason for the request, “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.” When the Ephesian church heard the news of Paul’s imprisonment they began to lose heart, so Paul’s prayer for them to be strengthened was to meet this need. So let’s dissect Paul’s first petition.
Like the church in Ephesus, have you ever dealt with discouragement? I have. Some of you might be discouraged right now. Prayer is the way to overcome. One of the first truths to understand is we pray to our Father who has riches that will never run dry. God can give lavishly without holding back; never having to worry that His power will be emptied. So when we make our request as Paul is doing here, we need to understand the resources available are limitless, so ask with faith knowing He can supply.
Here, Paul is asking God to supply strength from His glorious riches through the Holy Spirit to our inner being. The term ‘inner being’ is unique to the Pauline epistles. It simply means the seat of personal consciousness and of our moral being. It is here where the Spirit does his strengthening and renewing work. We need to understand the importance of daily renewal. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we are told that our outer self is fading away daily. Every day you live here on earth your body is aging, and every day your mind is being bombarded with a false gospel. You will grow weak if you do not depend on the Holy Spirit for daily strength.
Paul is showing how much he loves his brothers and sisters the best way he can- by praying for the Spirit to fill them so Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. Now some of you are probably saying, “Didn’t Jesus already live within them?” According to Romans 8:9, He did, and every believer is indwelt by Christ at the moment of salvation. Here Paul is not referring to the initial indwelling of Christ but on His continual presence. We need to pray daily for Jesus to have free reign to rearrange our innermost being to fit His good pleasure. Jesus only finds satisfaction in hearts cleansed of sin and filled with His Spirit (John 14:23). If Christ is living in our hearts, He is at the center of our lives and rules over all that we are and do. Remember this is not a work of your own- it happens through faith as we trust Him to make our hearts His home. The more the Spirit empowers our lives, the more we are transformed into the image of Christ. We will never reach a point in this life where such a prayer becomes unnecessary.
Pray Through This Scripture
Apply This Scripture