by E.W. Kenyon – Used by Permission
Paul teaches us about prayer by his prayers. True, in Ephesians 6:18 he says, “With all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” You notice he uses the expression “with all prayer (or with all kinds of prayer) and supplication in the Spirit.” Whether that be in the Holy Spirit or in his recreated spirit, one can’t be sure, but they would actually mean the same thing.
It suggests in I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” Your life becomes a continual intercession. It is not by words, the spirit in you is doing what Paul mentions in Romans 8:26: “And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
But I wish to call your attention especially to Paul’s prayers for the Church. The first one is in Ephesians 1:15,16: “For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”
And here is a remarkable intercession for you and me. I am going to use the second person singular as Conybeare suggests: “That the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
Notice carefully now. He is praying that we may have a spirit of wisdom.
I don’t know whether you have noticed it or not, but wisdom and knowledge are different.
Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge.
Wisdom doesn’t come from the reasoning faculties, it comes from the human spirit. Whether it be natural wisdom of man outside of Christ, or whether it be God’s wisdom that is given to the New Creation.
He is praying now that our spirits may have wisdom to grasp the riches of the work that God wrought in Christ Jesus for us. It is Revelation Knowledge that was given to Paul. Now we are to have wisdom to understand our share of Redemption’s unveiling in that knowledge.
He says, “Having the eyes of our hearts illumined, that we may know the hope of his calling and the riches of the glory of the Father’s inheritance in the saints,” that is, in you and me.
If our hearts could grasp this, it would transform us. If we could only realize what an inheritance the Father has in us, how priceless we are to Him.
We have our property insured in case of fire or theft. We have our bodies insured in case of accident. I wonder if the Father has His inheritance in us insured? I wonder if He is as jealous over us as we are over our jewellery and our precious property? I am sure He is. Some day we will make a discovery of how He has insured us.
Notice farther in the prayer. He wants us to know “the exceeding greatness of his ability on our behalf who believe.” He said, “it is according to the working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.”
My heart has been slow to grasp this. When I knew in reality that the same ability that wrought in the dead body of Christ was at work within me, in my spirit, in my soul, in my body, then I knew that I was fortified. I couldn’t fail because I had become the instrument through which that Mighty One was working.
Then Romans 8:11 cleared up: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
The same power that wrought in Christ is in you and me. That resurrection ability is in our bodies. That means healing and strength and vitality for our present necessities in our daily walk.
But notice another thing he said: “And he made him to sit on his right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
In Ephesians 2:6 he says, “And raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him at his right hand” and we are sitting now far above all rule and authority. That was Paul’s prayer for us, or rather, it was the Spirit’s prayer through Paul.
And now the Spirit goes farther and says, “He put all things in subjection under our feet.” We are the earth part of the Body of Christ. The Executive is in the Heavens. The office force is here on the earth; we are a part of that. We must know that the ability God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead is ours.
Here is another tremendous fact that we have almost utterly forgotten, “That He put all things in subjection under His feet and He gave Christ to be head over all things for the benefit of the Church.”
We must not forget that Satan is defeated; that we were with Christ in that great Substitution of which we became a part; that we conquered the adversary with Him; when He arose from the dead, we were raised together with Him; and when He was enthroned at the right hand of the Father, we were enthroned with Him.
He is praying that we may know this, that we may enter into the fulness of it. That prayer must be answered. I am asking now that this prayer should be answered for each one of you.
“He has given Jesus to be head over all things for the benefit of the Church.” Then the “over all things” includes everything that can touch your life and mine. They are all subject to the Head — Christ; and they are subject to us — the Body of Christ.
For in that next verse He says, “Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all things.” The Body is the fulness of Him. The Body is the completeness of Him, and the Ability of the Body should dominate all things around it.
Our feeble intellects can’t grasp this, but our spirits can revel in it. For our spirits are filled with His fulness, the fulness of His Love, the fulness of His Grace, the fulness of His Wisdom, the fulness of His Ability to bless and help men.
His next prayer is in Ephesians 3:14-21: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Now notice the prayer: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with ability through his Spirit in the inward man.”
Strengthened with God’s Ability. It doesn’t seem to me that we can ever be weak or failures again.
I don’t know what all that means, nor do I know the limits of it ,but I do know that it makes us more than conquerors in the midst of every perplexing condition. It puts our heel upon the neck of our enemies, whether they be spiritual enemies or material; it makes us masters. It strips us of our weakness and inability and clothes us with the Ability from on High.
He says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts” — in my heart and in yours — “on the ground of faith; to the end that we may be rooted and grounded in love.” That is the Jesus kind of love — Agapa. We are not only to be influenced by it, but we are to be rooted and grounded in it; established in Love.
I John 4:16, “And we know and have believed the love which God hath in our case. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.” I think a better rendering is this: “We have come to believe in the love that God has in our case.”
I have come to believe that Love, this Jesus kind of Love, is better than reason, better than force, better than philosophy of man, better than anything that man can devise. Man’s knowledge can’t equal it.
I have come to believe that Love’s way is the best way, and that the way of Love is the way to walk. When I know that God is Love, then the way of God is best. If I believe in Love, I believe in the Author of Love. I do believe in Love. I believe that His Love way is best for me; is best for you. It is the end of strife for ourselves, the end of bitterness and hatred and jealousy. It is the beginning of Christ dominating our lives in our earth walk. To be rooted and grounded in love is the choicest experience that can ever come to the human heart.
“And then we will be strong to grasp with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth of His grace and of His Love.” We will come to know the love of Christ personally, so we will say as Paul did, “He loved me and He gave Himself up for me.” His Redemption will be a personal thing. He did it for me. It will be as though no other person lived; that I was the one for whom He died.
But you know the next sentence says, “And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God.” That was His prayer for me. That was his prayer for you. That prayer can’t go unanswered.
You remember how he groaned in Colossians 1:28, “that I may present every man perfect in Christ.” That was the Spirit’s passion in Paul. God help me to have the same passion. That eliminates selfishness utterly, doesn’t it? That is a new self, a self born of God, a self that has no dream but God’s dream, no ambition but His ambition.
But hear the closing of that prayer: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” You see, we swing out of the orbit of sense knowledge, out of the limitations of sense reason, into the realm of the supernatural. We are living now in the realm of Grace, the realm of God.
He says that “it is above all that we can ask or think, according to the ability that worketh in us.” We have been slow to grasp this, but this is a picture of His Grace. This is an illustration of the Father’s dream for us. This illustrates the prayer life of Paul. It is better than any rules or regulations that man can make in regard to a prayer life.
When you and I realize this prayer was for us, we become anxious that it be answered in us. That lets Him loose in us to work His own will and His own pleasure in and through us for His glory.