Prayer for illumination (Part 1)

Prayer for illumination 1

Paul prays for illumination so that they may know

Eph 1:16  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

Eph 1:17  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,

Eph 1:18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know

Paul is here praying for the church. 

He directs his prayers to “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory”. The fact that Paul says that God the Father is the God of our Lord Jesus doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t God. Many times in the epistles, we find that Paul calls God the God of the Lord Jesus. It simply means that in his human nature, Jesus called the Father his God. And there are many texts to prove that Jesus is divine and God (See John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-11; Romans 9:5, etc.). What we see in this prayer is that Paul approached God directly, through Jesus, and he asked that the Spirit of wisdom may be granted them. 

So firstly, we see that all three persons of the Godhead are present here. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as seen in Ephesians chapter 1:3-14. So, Paul, in his prayers, has all three members of the Godhead in mind. And when he prays, he calls the Father the “Father of glory”. It is an essential word in the first chapter of Ephesians. These words are often repeated. In chapter 1, we find the phrase, repeated three times, that we should “praise his glory”. God’s glory refers to his weightiness. The total sum of his attributes, all that is in God, is his glory. So, when he prays, he prays to the magnificent, glorious Father. Paul prays that God the Father may give the Spirit of wisdom to them. It doesn’t mean that they didn’t have the Spirit already. But he prays that more of the Spirit may be given to them. “The Spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Him.” In simple terms, Paul is praying that more of the Spirit may be given to them so they may know him better! And then he qualifies what this means, as a parenthesis, “the eyes of your hearts being enlightened.” 

You may say, what does that mean? “Do my heart have eyes? The last time I thought about my heart, it pumped blood. I didn’t know my heart had eyes!! Paul is talking figuratively, of course. Not literally. When he prays that the eyes of our hearts be enlightened, he is speaking spiritually. He is not talking about your physical heart. He is talking about your inner self, your soul. The eyes of your soul. The real you, the immaterial you, the you that will live forever. Your soul sees things that the physical eyes cannot see. We live by faith, not by sight. As Christians, we believe in a life to come, new heavens and a new earth, in a God we cannot see with our eyes. We see things by faith. And we need the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to see the eternal things. We need more of the Spirit; we need illumination, and spiritual enlightenment, to see the glory of Christ in Scripture and our souls. This is our greatest need, firstly,to see God and his glory and be captivated by it. It must control our being, our decisions, our desires, our every move and goal in life. What intrigues you, brother and sister? What do you think about the most? Money, entertainment, food, cars, the stock exchange, the coronavirus, what captivates you? Is it the glory of the world? Or the glory of God? 

But, to see is only the first step; we see to know. 

This is what Paul prays for, “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened that you may know;..” 

To know is most crucial. We need the Spirit always to see and know the things we have in Christ. We cannot be focused on the things that are seen. We are not materialists. We are not Buddhists who believe matter is eternal. We don’t put our hope in the things that are seen. We need illumination and light from the Spirit to know, be sure, and be confident about the things we have in Christ. And then to savour. I include this word, savour, because Paul wants the believers not only to see and know things intellectually but spiritually and experimentally. He wants the believers to be assured of the things they have in Christ. He wants them to see, know and experience more of the Spirit. He wants them to see now and treasure and love the things of the Spirit.

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