Powerful and Effective – Part 2
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:16 NIV)
Because of the prevailing anti-supernatural teaching in the Christian church over the last few decades, the Holy Spirit has been politely asked to leave the premises. This has taken away from God’s original plan for his church and left us as merely lecture halls where sound doctrine is being regularly expounded. But that is not the religion of Jesus as modeled in the New Testament. Ministers are supposed to lead their congregations into fellowship with God himself and not merely their slant on truth with innovative props and illustrations.
Is this about experiencing Jesus in a fresh way or merely hearing a great sermon?
We must understand that what’s needed daily is supernatural revelation by the Spirit to our hearts (Ephesians 3:4-5). The truths of our faith aren’t grasped by the natural mind. There are brilliant scholars who know the Bible but don’t know Christ. If we want to fully experience Jesus, it can only be done through the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Because of this fact, the apostle Paul prayed that his converts would be strengthened by more than his teaching—by the Spirit himself.
Paul had been in Ephesus for three years. While he was there, he taught them everything he could; he gave them the whole counsel of God. But once he moved on to plant churches elsewhere, he didn’t stop thinking about them or stop praying for them. What’s really incredible is that Paul believed God would grant them supernatural power through his prayers. Think how little we pray these kinds of prayers and expect God to do it. Think of the people we love and worry about but rarely pray for. Others we complain about or criticize, but sadly, we rarely take the time to lift them up to God.
The Ephesians weren’t the only people Paul prayed for. He did this for other believers too. To the Thessalonians he wrote, “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.” And “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:10,13).
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Strong through the Storm)
Read Ephesians 3:14-21.