Ephesians 3:16-19: Paul’s prayer for us


By Hal Green

There is no more powerful, succinct and timeless prayer in the Bible than Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3, really for all Christians for all time. It is up there with Jesus’ “Priestly Prayer” of John 17. It is a prayer of Paul’s passionate hope for others to share with him in his union with Christ. Please read it slowly and re-read it over time.

Hal Green

As the words sink in, their meaning will magnify. The further you get in the spiritual life with God, the greater the meaning of these words for you. Every sentence deserves to be meditated upon, then prayed.

The four questions to ask in praying the Scriptures need to be addressed in this unique, unexpected and confessional prayer. What does this passage say? What does it say to you? What do you want to say to God? What does God want to say to you? Add to that, what is Paul seeing, and how can you grasp it?


“I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:16-19).

Paul prays for you to be strengthened in your hidden heart through the Spirit and that Christ may actively dwell in your heart. Both the Spirit’s strengthening and Christ dwelling in your heart are real and actual, as I can attest from my own life. Christ being in you roots and grounds you in love, from which nothing can separate you. In that silently blessed union, you will finally be able to comprehend, as have the saints before you, the truth that Jesus came to reveal and constitute. Paul wants you to know what he knows, namely the height, depth and breadth of Christ’s love, which surpasses human knowledge and language. At that vaulted point, God will have filled you with the unspeakable fullness of God, as the immense ocean fills a little bucket to overflowing. The way into this eternal fullness begins with the earnest desire for, and faith in, God.

The time to go for this infilling is now. It is the ultimate goal and unending significance of the Eucharist. Nothing less than attaining your destiny in Christ will truly satisfy you.

(Contact Hal Green, Ph.D., at drhalgreen@gmail.com.)

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