Ephesians 1: 15-23
“For this reason…” This prayer flows out of Paul’s great prayer of praise in v.3-14. There he praised God that in Christ every spiritual blessing is ours; now he prays that their eyes might be opened to better grasp the fullness of what God has already given them. It is a prayer that the blessings of vv.3-14 should truly sink in, and so help us to stand firm, confident and assured in Christ.
“your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints” – the two distinguishing marks that show that they have been included in God’s great plan of salvation.
“may give you the Spirit” – though note that they already received the Spirit (v.13), but we need to keep on being filled by the Spirit (5:18).
“know him better” – “know” in the Bible means know in a relational sense, not merely theoretical knowledge (just knowing things about God). Such knowledge is one of the great works of the Spirit in us; a great thing to pray for.
There are three further requests: to know –
“the hope to which he has called you” – look back to vv.3-14 for pointers as to what this hope is.
“the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” – the inheritance is his rather than ours: we, the saints, are God’s inheritance, which he has chosen for himself to be his treasured possession. So the sense is that we should better know how precious we are to God.
“his incomparably great power for us” The fact that this is further elaborated in vv.20-23 suggests that it was a particular concern of Paul’s that they should grasp this. And don’t we too need to grasp much more the enormous and all-sufficient resources available in Christ to the believer?
To help us grasp this power, Paul points us to the supreme demonstration of this power – the raising of Jesus from the dead to the highest place, “above all rule and authority, power and dominion” at the very right hand of God. It is life giving power, and power that nothing can trump. Power that is “for the Church”.
Peter O’Brien comments, “Christ’s headship over the universe is for the benefit of his people who gather round him in fellowship.” Those who are “his body”, united with him and ruled by him; and those who are “the fullness of him”, in the sense of being filled by him. He rules all things and fills all things, but in a special and particular way he rules and fills the Church, using his position of supremacy for our benefit.
How this should encourage us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (6:10)!