~ by Randy Bushey
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better (Ephesians 1:17).
When I visited the ruins of Ephesus – one of the most heavily excavated ancient cities in the Mediterranean world – I had an peculiar sense of having walked exactly where Paul walked…and Timothy, and Luke, and John, and other New Testament characters (including Priscilla and Aquila, and Apollos) whose ministries all occasioned them to visit this commercial port city.
The excavated ruins are a favourite tourist spot and the archaeological site is massive, covering 500 acres. Only 10% of the city had been excavated when I was there in 2005, but the imposing arches and columns, the marble-paved agora, the multi-storey library façade, and the temple to Artemis all spoke to the grandeur and dignity of the original city.
But it was at the unearthed structure of the ancient Jewish synagogue that I imagined my feet standing in sand precisely where the Apostle would have preached almost 2000 years ago, as this worship centre was visited frequently by Paul and Timothy according to the historical record in Acts 19:8.
One of my favorite memories: standing with 33 other Canadians on the stage of the excavated open-air theatre – seating capacity, 24,000 – and passionately singing our national anthem for all to hear.
But when Paul wrote to these believers, his mood was not one of sentimentality.
Paul was a prisoner of Caesar.
He knew the believers well – he’d spent 3 years shepherding and teaching the Ephesian flock; but now he was 5 years and 2300 km away, writing this epistle in the harsh environment of a cell in Rome.
And yet in this unforgiving context, Paul was diligent in praying for their spiritual health.
Notice what this prayer demonstrates:
-Paul was persistent in interceding on the behalf of the Ephesian Christians: I keep asking…
-the Trinity is clearly evident: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit…
-Paul’s petition was asking that the Holy Spirit would provide wisdom and revelation…
-and his ultimate purpose for this prayer, was that the Christ-followers would know the Saviour more deeply, more intensely, and with greater familiarity and love: so that you may now him better.
Takeaway: This is a prayer you could pray! The great Apostle supplies a framework for our prayers for those we love.