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Daily Devotional | A Prayer from Prison Daily Devotional | A Prayer from Prison

Daily Devotional | A Prayer from Prison

When I was a boy, I occasionally wrote letters to my grandmother who lived in another state. They were handwritten, brief, and usually began the same way: “How are you? I am fine.” Letter writing in Paul’s day also had an opening formula that generally included a greeting to identify the letter’s recipient and a blessing.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, this blessing takes the form of a prayer for spiritual enlightenment (vv. 17–18). This was not a prayer for salvation. Paul’s readers already possessed faith in Jesus Christ and a love for God’s people (v. 15). Instead, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would grow in their understanding. Specifically, he asked God to grant his readers enlightenment, using the vivid image of a heart with eyes wide open (v. 18). This kind of understanding is the work of the Holy Spirit, whom the apostle calls “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (v. 17).

The kind of understanding Paul requests goes beyond mere intellectual knowledge of certain truths. This kind of knowledge is experiential as well as intellectual. It is an understanding of a hope and a power that come from God (vv. 18–19). How much power are we talking about? According to verse 20 it is the same power that the Father exerted when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead! The spiritual power that is granted to us in the Christian life is enough to subdue all things to Christ (v. 22).

We can’t help noticing the contrast between Paul’s circumstances and the kind of power he describes. Given his arrest and confinement, we might have expected the apostle to see himself as a victim. Instead, Paul describes total victory.

>> You may not be able to grasp everything there is to know about Jesus Christ. But you can understand more. As we continue our study, ask God to open the eyes of your heart so you can know and experience the power of Christ.

Pray with Us

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord! We want to see You more truly each day. We can only know about You what You reveal to us. We want to know You better than we know ourselves. We want the eyes of our hearts to be wide open!

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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