Filled with God's Presence
Desperate for God
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
This is a second prayer by the apostle Paul for the Christian Gentiles in Ephesus. In this prayer, we see Paul mentioning the Trinity – He prays to the heavenly Father. He asks Him to strengthen these folk “inside” through the Holy Spirit, so that Christ can live in their hearts through their faith in Him!
When I read this passage, I was taken aback by the words “I bow my knees” before the Father. Kneeling in prayer means big business! I can tell you, when I get on my knees in prayer, I am broken. To get one to kneel, something big is happening in the heart. Something really important. Kneeling is just not a posture that humans take without a reason. Yes, some might have a custom to pray on their knees, and that is very admirable. But normally, I’d say, most people pray while sitting down, perhaps with head bowed. But to bring one to their knees, I see great need. I’d even go as far to say that when we are brought to our knees, we have come to the point that we are ready to do business with God. We weep, we are broken, we are desperate. There is no other way to go. All other avenues have been exhausted, and now, we in desperation, go to God in prayer on our knees.
Well, Paul’s in prison, and there in his cell, he kneels before God and prays for these Christians – for inner strength in their hearts. And I love that all of the Trinity is involved here – God planned for our salvation because of His great love for us. Even when man blew-it by going his own way in rebellion and disobedience, God had a plan to restore that relationship with his beloved creation. Jesus was the plan, and Jesus made the sacrifice to buy us back – his blood purchased our salvation. His sacrifice paid for our sin. He paid our price. And then the Holy Spirit was sent to apply that salvation in a very, day-by-day way.
Paul prays that the Ephesian Christians would be rooted and established in the love of Christ. To know this love. To know Christ. To grasp this love and how big it is - deep and wide, high and long. Let’s get out our measuring tapes. How big is this love that Christ has for us? Well, it can’t be measured, because it is too big. It surpasses our knowledge! But I don’t think we have a clue how much we are loved by God. We feel alone. We feel unloved. But that is not the truth. Beacon commentary points out that God’s love is broad enough to save everyone, it is long enough to last to eternity, it is deep enough to reach the worst sinner, and high enough to get us to heaven.
We can never grow to maturity until we have this love planted in our hearts. We can’t live as God’s holy people until we first know this love of Christ. It surpasses our knowledge. That’s where we go back on our knees, because it isn’t just something we know in our heads, but something we experience and let God work in our hearts.
Paul prays that the Ephesians would “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” God wants to fill us with his nature – Commentator Clark lists: His humility, meekness, gentleness, goodness, justice, holiness, mercy, truth and love to God and man. To be filled, one must first be emptied. Again, we are brought back to our knees, that place of surrender, of confession, of forgiveness, of faith, of cleansing.
And this prayer of Paul ends with such confidence in God and His working in our lives. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” If there are areas in your life where you are at the end of your rope, may you kneel before the Father to receive all He has for you - Strength through the power of the Holy Spirit filling your inner being with the love of the Father through Christ dwelling in your heart through faith. His filling of the Holy Spirit with His holy love. Knowing God. Knowing Christ. And living in the power of His Holy Spirit.
I remember the upper prayer room on the NBC campus in Colorado Springs in the Williamson building, right over the kitchen. It had a narrow, wooden staircase going way up to a loft area close to the roof. My husband, Tim, and I used to go there weekly for prayer time. There was a small altar that we used for those special, more urgent prayers. There were two, short wooden pews that we mostly prayed from. At the NBC offices in Lenexa, KS, at the Global Ministry Center, there is a beautiful prayer chapel. The stones were brought from countries around the world. There are verses around the chapel in different languages. It is a chapel to be used, not just to be admired and toured. Tim and I have used this prayer chapel many times for special prayer and have seen others come in and go out for their prayer times.
Paul ends his prayer by praying, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. So then, of course, give God the glory for His faithfulness for meeting you with His presence and touch while there on your knees.
Rev. Susan McKeithen, Executive Assistant to the President and Spanish Ministry Pastor Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene