An Ascending Prayer
Ephesians 3:14-21
For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…

You will see that this prayer is an ascending one. Each petition rises higher than the preceding. Meditating on this prayer is something like ascending an Alpine peak. The first hour or so is comparatively easy work. The giant flanks of the mountain are steep, but still their ascent is not over difficult; but the higher you go, the steeper it becomes, until at last there is just that one glittering pinnacle towering above your head, and it seems to say, "Thus far, but no farther! Scale me if you can." With the aid, though, of a trusty guide, who cuts steps in the very ice for us, and who lends us the strength of his arm, we are able to gain the summit, and drink in with our eyes the grandeur of the scene. Oh that the Spirit of God might come upon us, and, taking us by the hand, help us by His own mighty power to reach the very topmost pinnacle of the apostle's prayer, and understand in some measure what it is to be filled with all the fulness of God.

1. There must be an inward strengthening. Spiritual power must be developed to qualify us for attaining to eminence in the knowledge and service of Christ. Not life only, but vitality.

2. There must be an ever-acting faith on your part, so that a whole Christ may be received, and a whole Christ retained within the soul. A glorious realization of the person of the Lord Jesus, and by faith a living Christ dwelling within the breast. Not a portrait merely, but Christ Himself enshrined in the soul.

3. Then, you see, how naturally comes the next petition, "That ye may be filled with all the fulness of God." Ah! I am certain of this, that if I am filled with a living Christ, I am not far off being filled with all the fulness of God. If I am strengthened with all might by the Holy Ghost, and have a living Jesus within the soul, only one step higher and the pinnacle of the prayer is reached.

(1) What it is to be filled with God. To have as much of God within us as our nature can contain. No low level of spiritual experience should satisfy us. We must ever be on the rise — ever seeking to reach perfection. He who only aims low cannot possibly have his arrow hit high; whereas he who aims high, though he may not hit the mark at which he aims, will have his arrow fly higher than that of the other marksman. "I would have you to be filled," says St. Paul, "with the Spirit of God; the Holy Ghost looking through your eyes, the Spirit of God on your lips, influencing, sweetening, savouring every word that you speak; the Holy Ghost in your hands, ennobling all the everyday actions of life; the Spirit of God guiding your feet, so that your every day walk honours Him."(2) What it is to be filled with all the fulness of God. In Christ all fulness dwells, and it is bestowed on Him in order that He may communicate it to His people. All weakness, I may bring the vacuum of my weakness up to the fulness of His all-power, and then am I strong because I am weak. All foolishness in myself, there is all wisdom in Him to guide and direct. With utter nothingness in myself, there is all-sufficiency in Him. It is no longer a question of what I am, or what I can do, but who Christ is, and what He can do in me. To Him we may go for fulness: but, for fulness of what?

(a) Fulness of joy (John 15:11;. 16:24; 17:13). No piety in being miserable. It is no token of grace to be depressed or disconsolate. It rather shows there is something wrong somewhere, because, included in the all-fulness that Christ has to supply His saints, there is the fulness of joy.

(b) Fulness of peace (Romans 15:13). Joy is peace singing; peace is joy reposing.

(c) Fulness of hope.

(d) The fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:2). Not just a stray fruit here and there upon your boughs, but all your boughs filled with fruit, until through the very weight of their load they bend down and kiss the ground. The more fruitful the branch, the lower it will hang; and the more fruit there is upon a believer, the less conceit and pride there will be about him.

(e) The knowledge of God's will (Colossians 1:9).All these are but a few items of the different things with which the Lord is willing to fill us. Would you lead a calm, restful life? Then you must know the meaning of being filled. To use a very simple illustration — take a water bottle, and if that water bottle be only half full, every time you move the bottle the water in it washes to and fro. Why? How is it that it feels every motion? Because it is not full. But if you fill that water bottle right up until it cannot hold another drop, and then cork it in, you may turn the bottle which way you like, and the water within it will not move. There is no movement, no washing about. Why? Because it is too full to be agitated. The reason why you and I live such poor restless lives is that we are not filled up with the fulness of God. Do you also want to live a life of power? Then remember that the measure of any man's power is in proportion to the measure with which he is filled with God.

(A. G. Brown.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

WEB: For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A Prayer on Behalf of the Ephesian Christians
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