This text is a prayer that Paul gave for the Ephesians, a prayer of power and of selfless love for the saints, a prayer that deserves our review and emulation.
Notice that as he begins this prayer, Paul points out that it is through God that every family derives its name. This is a curious statement, and we might be quick to slip right past it, seeing it as a sort of introduction and missing its amazing impact altogether; let’s not make that mistake today. The sense in which every family derives its name from the Father is not a literal sense, for every family derives its name from God in the sense that it is a relational unit that is bound together by love… and genetics. Think of how God intended for us to live, go all the way back to Genesis, to the garden: We were created to live in harmony and fellowship together with God the Father. In a sense, we were to be bound with Him through genetics, for did He not breathe of Himself, His life, into the man when the man was first created, and then from the man, God created the woman? This illustration of familial unity is continued as couples produce offspring and build family units to this day, units bound up in love, and in the nature of their very beings.
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 hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Looking at these three verses, we can clearly see this picture of “family” being carried forward in the church, for not only is it rooted in love, but it is bound together by the very life force of God Himself; genetics of a sort. We see this when Paul refers to our being strengthened “with power through his Spirit in your inner being” this Spirit being the ingredient that binds His church into a family unit. This life force, His Spirit who dwells within us, is what enables us to experience His great love within and between each other, this great love that surpasses human comprehension and binds us together in oneness, this is the power of Christ in us.
Paul concludes his prayer by showing us that this power within us will continue to work to give Him glory through us in all succeeding generations; magnificent!
Oh, if only we would learn to pray like this! Yet it might just be that we seldom pray like this, because few of us have learned to think like this, to see the greater picture, to recognize the real significance of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
May His Spirit within us reveal to us the truth of Paul’s words, that each of us might better discern the family of God.