A Prayer for the New Year (Ephesians 3:14-21)

(For accuracy of this transcript, please refer to the audio file)

I’ve noticed that at our condominium this first week in January that we have a few more people working out at the gym then I saw back in December. Treadmills are a little bit busier, a few more people lifting weights, doing strengthening exercises. Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get in better shape physically. We’ll see how long that lasts. The section in Scripture that we’re going to look at this morning is a prayer. And so, I’m calling my sermon, “A Prayer for the New Year”. Now, of course, any passage of the Bible is appropriate, any day of the year. But I’m going to take advantage of the calendar to call my sermon this today, a prayer for the new year, or we could even call it, a prayer for a new decade. It’s a prayer for strength, and who among us doesn’t need strength? But much more importantly than any kind of physical strength we might be trying to develop at the gym, the prayer in God’s word this morning is a prayer for inner strength, for a strength that changes our hearts. Would you hear the word of God, I’ll read Ephesians 3:14-21, “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 breath 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. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Well, let’s make sure we understand why there’s a prayer here at the end of Ephesians Chapter three. And to do that, we look at the context, what comes before this and what comes afterwards. We’re given one clue right here in our passage, why we should start this morning by considering the context. Did you notice that initial phrase in verse 14, For this reason….”, which, if we’re paying attention and want to learn, we should ask for what reason? Why is your prayer beginning this way? Well, those of you who’ve been here for the last several weeks will recognize that we’re coming to the end of the first half of our study of Ephesians. The book easily divides into two parts and the two points simple outline we’ve been looking at,

  1. Our position in Christ – saved by Grace. (Chap. 1-3)
  2. Our walk with Christ – living with Unity. (Chap. 4-6)