A Prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Eph 3:14-21
What did you dream of as a child? Did you dream of being a fireman? A teacher? A baseball player? A mommy? A doctor? A ballerina? Do you still dream? What are dreams now? Do you dream as big as you did as a child?
Sometimes as we grow up reality sets in, our old dreams fade and we stop dreaming new dreams. We realize the cost is higher and the possibility smaller that our dreams might actually come true. We know all too well the words of Solomon in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” But we stop reading there and forget the rest, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Because we live in a fallen world, many of our hopes will be deferred, but this spring day, I ask you to keep holding out hope for a longing fulfilled, knowing it is a tree of life.
This week in my small group, we shared examples of longings fulfilled in our lives and what joy it brought to our hearts. It was such a sweet time of sharing as we saw the tears in each other's eyes recalling the prayers that God had answered in our lives with a resounding, “Yes!” We sang the praises of a God who healed us beyond what we asked, who gave us opportunities we never dreamed, and who constantly reminds of us of His love.
I shared the story of my precious nephew born at 26 weeks, a mere 2 pounds and 6 ounces. Those days were long and hard as we fought hard on our knees for that precious baby boy. We held onto the hope that God would heal this precious child. And God not only let him grow stronger each day, He went above and beyond our expectations and left him without the side effects common to preemies. Today, five years later he is a healthy boy who loves farming more than anyone I know. I recently found out that he only wants to wear button down shirts because, “that's what farmers wear!”
Ephesians 3 reminds us of the promise that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine! Isn't that amazing! Take a minute and reread the verses above.
God has given you your name, and He will strengthen you with His power through the Holy Spirit. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. (Eph1:19-20) Paul prays for Christ to dwell in your heart and for you to be rooted and established in love. Does Christ dwell in your heart? Does He reside there continually? Is He welcome to take up residence, to unpack His bags and get comfortable there? Does He dwell there to the extent that His roots are growing deep in your heart? The New Living Translation of verse 17 says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
The other day I saw a tree swaying in a storm. It was a fairly skinny tree about 40 feet tall. As the wind blew, the tree swayed 10-15 feet in either direction. I couldn't help but think how deep its roots must be to keep that thin tree from being completely uprooted. It swayed for hours in the storm, but did not fall. Its roots were deep and kept it standing strong. That's how God's love is. As you let God plant His roots in our heart through His love, He makes us strong, strong enough to stand through storms, and strong enough to dream big dreams. You can dream big dreams through the strength He gives in His love.
Paul prays that you will be able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is, and at the same time says His love surpasses our knowledge. Isn't that encouraging? Someone’s love for you is more that you can fathom! When you realize that God is on your side, and His love is bigger than you can comprehend, it is easier to tell Him your secret desires. Paul tells us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine. Is the God you trust with your dreams? He is not just able to answer your prayers and make your dreams realities; He is able to accomplish this in a way you can't even imagine! How awesome is that? You can trust Him with your dreams!
Jesus reiterates this confidence in Matthew 7:7-11:
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Are you asking and continuing to ask? Are you knocking and continuing to knock? God wants to give you good gifts! And the greatest part is He knows how these gifts will effect our lives, so He has perfect discernment in saying “yes” and “no.” You can trust His judgement, lay your dreams at His feet and know that He will answer you beyond your wildest imagination!
Take time to sit and enjoy Jesus today…Let Him dwell with you and begin to dream big dreams!