Summary: The magnitude of that prayer is so immense that you and I need divine assistance to get our minds around this.
Find Ephesians 3 with me. This is the second week to look at one of the most beautiful prayers in all the Bible. It's as if you are on an escalator moving right into Heaven itself. It's obviously a prayer from the first words in verse 14, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father."
I am challenging our church to use this prayer to pray for a teenager or child in the coming weeks. Generation Z may not be a familiar term for you but are those young people born between 1995 and 2010. Gen Z will quickly become the largest American generation yet. They are today's teenagers and children 18 and under. If we would begin to pray for God to do the things in this prayer, we would see the transforming power of God unleashed in our lives, in churches, and in the next generation as we have never seen before.
Let's read the passage one more time: "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:14-21).
This is a prayer for people who already believe in Christ, who already possess the Holy Spirit in their spirits. The magnitude of that prayer is so immense that you and I need divine assistance to get our minds around this. You and I will never get anywhere near the experience of God until the first thing you do is bow your head and you say, "I haven't the slightest idea what these words mean. I've hardly even tapped. I've tasted three drops out of an ocean. Help me, Father." Let's pause to pray together.
Father in Heaven,
There's no way for us to understand this supernatural love your Word speaks of. It's on a whole other love and as strange to our ears as something from a physics textbook. Lord, we need you here in our minds and in our spirits. Quiet us and focus us. We are praying for a spiritual breakthrough that is a hinge moment for our lives. Drown our minds in your presence. Flood our spirits and souls with you in the moments to come. We need you to enter into us at this moment.
In Jesus Name,
Gen Z Sermon Purpose
Again, I am calling our church's collective attention to Generation Z, the students around us. These are those 18 and under. I want to ask you to ponder how can you encourage them. How can we fan the flame of faith in this generation born between 1999 and 2015? And how can we specifically pray for them. Many of you have children and grandchildren that are Generation Z. I'm asking you to pick at least one of these to pray for by name. Specifically, I want to challenge you to pray this specific prayer as a model prayer for a believing teenager or young person in your life. Would you join me in adopting Ephesians 3 as a model prayer for one person of the Next Generation to have a spiritual breakthrough? Let's unite together to call out to Almighty with a tremendous passion that the next generation would have a spiritual passion and a hunger for God.
1. Strengthen Me with Your Spirit
There are so many layers to this prayer: "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love…" (Ephesians 3:17).
Paul mixes metaphors here. He uses a planting metaphor for the farmer and then he uses a construction metaphor when you are building. "[R]ooted" is agricultural, and "grounded" (literally, founded) is architectural and they combine to show us the sense of what is being prayed for. In essence, he's praying, "that you, being rooted and [foundationed] in love…" The Bible calls on us to pray for believers to be "rooted" and "grounded" in Christ in our hearts.
1.1 Your Inner Being
Very little of the Bible makes sense if you think of the word heart as being a synonym with emotions. The heart is your inner core self so verse 17 is mirroring what verse 16 says: "that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…" (Ephesians 3:16). Until you recognize that you must start in your inner being, you'll get nowhere.