Ephesians 3:14-21: The Prayer of Discipleship

Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community. He begins the letter by laying out specific theological truths and completes it with the result, application and lifestyle for the Church that stands on those truths. It’s in this second half that we find our specific prayer.

Walking through these seven verses, we discover a subtle pathway. Paul doesn’t outline a step 1-7 of discipleship, but as we walk through the prayer, we can identify a natural progression of our faith that results in a life with God beyond what we can imagine.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 

This is such an important beginning point for our discipleship. It’s the foundation. It’s the identity piece. It’s the truth that who we are is because of who He is. The fact that our name comes from His not only defines where we begin, but where we’re headed.

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, 

We’ve established our identity, and it’s in that God-initiated establishment that He lavishes a great gift upon us — His Spirit. The same Spirit with which God passed over the Egyptians and Jesus performed miracles, that Spirit is gifted to us. Naturally, our response is faith in the One that named us and strengthened us. That’s a solid ground for us to root.

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.

It’s no small observation that this prayer is centered on a community of believers. I am not the Church. You are not the Church. We are. And together we can build one another up, exploring the eternal dimensions of Christ’s love, never quite reaching the great height, depth, length or width, and in coming short knowing that it’s beyond our knowledge. God’s fullness fills the gap, preparing us for the great work to come.

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.

And there it is. The final result of discipleship? More. More than all we can ask or imagine. Our lives, established in God’s name, empowered by His spirit, in community with His people, filled by His fullness, offer glory and praise to the One who takes us beyond.

Amen.

Guest Author: Sarah Beth Booe. Sarah and her husband Micah attend Valley View Christian Church. She loves crafting and hanging with her Life Group!

We will be regularly featuring guest blogs by different authors around Valley View throughout the BEYOND Campaign. If you would like to contribute, send your finished blog post to beyond@vvcc.org for consideration.