Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Praying for God

Preaching from Ephesians 3 on Sunday, I was particularly struck by the things that the apostle Paul prays for:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength 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, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
He asks that God would give his Holy Spirit, so that the believers might be strengthened in their spiritual innards; he asks that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith.  He asks that they might know the love of Christ in all its unknowable immensity; he asks that they may be filled up with God in all his overflowing fullness.

Big asks!

But also asking for things which to an extent they already have.  They're Christians, which means they have the Spirit, they know Christ by faith, they have some experience of God's love, God already dwells in them and amongst them.  They have all this; but Paul prays it for them anyway.  Because God is inexhaustibly rich, because the love of Christ is a vast ocean that can never be fully charted, because the Holy Spirit is a never-ceasing fountain of grace - therefore, Paul prays for them, that they might have and enjoy what they already have and enjoy, more and more, through and through.

And notice that what he wants for them is God.  This is God's will: to give himself to his people.  The God who lacks nothing, and is rather the source of all goodness, wants to give his presence, his power, his own self, to his people.  It is only because the gift is God himself that Paul can pray knowing that there is always more for them to receive, no matter how much they have already.  God in his infinite bounty desires to spend eternity demonstrating just how bottomless is his grace.

Can you have more of God?  If not, I don't know what Paul is about here in this prayer.  Yes, there is more.  Always more.

And might we not ask for that?  For God?  Remember that the good Father always gives the Holy Spirit to his children who ask him.  Here is a thing he has promised to give in response to prayer, and moreover it is the best thing - himself! - and a thing we will never have finished praying for because there is always more.  And yet our prayer meetings, and I would guess our personal prayer times, are full of prayers for other things, uncertain goods, finite ends.

Might we not pray for God?

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