For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glor ious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. (Ephesians 1:15–19)
Paul’s prayer for these believers seems kind of unusual, even inconsistent at first. “Because I have heard of your faith,” Paul writes, “(I pray that God) may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.” If Paul believes these people are already believers, why does he ask God to open the eyes of the hearts? I thought we only prayed like that for unbelievers.
He prays this way — and we ought to, as well — because God is not done showing us himself and his work when we first believe the gospel. Even though we have known Christ and surrendered ourselves to him, we have not even scraped the surface of who he is and what he accomplished for us with his death on the cross.
Love Always Looks for More
It’s really like any other person in our lives. We don’t stop trying to get to know someone after we’ve loved them, as if that’s the end of our relationship with them. No, our love drives us to know more of them, and more deeply. And there will always be new things to know and love about our Savior, if we have eyes to see them.
Paul prays specifically that believers would see three things and know them more and more as they walk with Jesus: our hope in God, our riches from God, and our safety with God.
1. The Hope Ahead
Paul asked God that these loved ones know, “the hope to which he has called (them).” They needed help from God to hold onto the hope they already had. Like the disciples in the boat during the storm, we’re far too easily frightened by the circumstances of this life. The darkness surrounds us, the winds blow violently, the waves come crashing into our lives. It often feels helpless, but that’s only because we’ve forgotten we’re with Jesus now.
Nothing can ultimately harm or destroy us because we’ve been saved and secured by God himself in his Son. And this God — whose wrath once burned against our sin and promised to punish us forever — this God has become for us the “God of hope” (Romans 15:13). Now, by faith, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
2. The Riches of Our Inheritance
Secondly, Paul prays that they would know, “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Paul loved his heavenly inheritance, and relied on it daily to get through the poverty, persecution, and temptation he experienced in this life. Nothing that could be given to Paul and nothing that could be taken from him could compare with all that waited for him with God in glory.
Think about all we could suffer and lose if we had any idea the true wealth and happiness we will have for millions of years after just a little while here on earth.
The hope of an eternal inheritance will strengthen you to sing in the midst of loss now, and it will help you deny the deceitful desires of this world. It’s a sure defense against the lesser, competing pleasures constantly warring against Christ for our heart and devotion. May God open the eyes of our hearts to see the worth of what we have in and with him, and the emptiness and futility of the other things and people we’re prone to worship.
3. The Greatness of God’s Power
God has saved you, and he has secured an infinite, eternal inheritance for you. Thirdly, Paul prayed that we would know, “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” Do you feel weak? We all do, some much more often than others. But we are all weak people.
You might be falling again in the same old patterns of sin or struggling to believe that God could forgive your past or seeing your inadequacies as a spouse, parent, or child or feeling physical, emotional, or psychological burdens you can’t even explain or experiencing any number of a thousand other weaknesses.
God wants you to know that the power to heal, the power to press on, the power to love and minister, the power to obey — any power you need — it doesn’t come from you, but from him. And if God’s power is in you, then you have an infinite, merciful, and invincible strength that will keep you and grow you in every circumstance. His divine power is for you, and not against you. Remember, the Lord himself said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We Want More, God
We can spend the rest of our lives asking God to give us new glimpses of himself. Even in heaven — free from sin — we will never exhaust everything there is to know and love about him. That’s the main thing that will make heaven so satisfying. We will constantly be meeting more of the infinite God — our Creator, Redeemer, and Father — and never getting to the end of him, never seeing everything there is to see.
God, open the eyes of our heart again.