Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church is filled with some amazing truth. It begins this way:
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith." (Ephesians 3:14-17)
Paul's writing always indicated how much he cared for the churches that would receive his letters. The prayers for them he included give us glimpses of his heart for the people and they speak of incredible truths.
Paul prayed that God would strengthen them because of His Spirit in their inner being, so that Christ was dwelling in them. I find it interesting that Paul didn't pray for them to be given strength from God. He prayed that they would be strengthened because of God's Spirit dwelling in them.
It's a small difference in terms of words, but it's a big difference in what it means.
If God is giving us the strength to live the way He outlines in His Word, there's some element of our own effort involved in it. We have to take the strength we've been given and then live the way we should.
If it is God's Spirit living in us strengthening us, then it removes our own effort from the equation completely. We live the way we should because we're completely dependent on God's Spirit in us to help is live that way. We become more dependent on God, not less.
This post is the third in a series on Ephesians 3. You can read previous posts here: Part 1 and Part 2.