Praying for Each Other
“Because of this, and hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and the love you have toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, making remembrance of you in my prayers in order that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”
What is the “this” that Paul has in mind? The previous verse provides us with the context that gives us the answer. The “this” is that we have been adopted into God’s household by the work of Christ and we are God’s possession, and so, “because of this” plus the faith of the Ephesians and the reputation they have of having love for the Saints, Paul never ceases to give thanks to God for them nor does he cease to remember them in his prayers.
There is a model of prayer here that I think sometimes goes overlooked. For whom is Paul praying? He is praying for the believers in Ephesus. How often our prayer life is predominately focused on ourselves rather than on others. Here, Paul is making a point of clarifying that he is constantly in prayer for these brothers in Ephesus and that he celebrates what God is doing in them and of what God will do in them. While it is clear from his writings that Paul commonly prays for strength to do that which he has been called to do, that is not his primary focus here.
Paul’s focus is clearly on the wellbeing of Christ’s church as a whole, not just the parts with which he is directly involved. How sad it is that we have lost that in the church today. Too many denominations, for instance, are only interested in promoting their own “brand” of Christianity and worship rather than seeing the True Church of Jesus Christ be built up. Why is it that churches often feel threatened by the presence of a nearby church rather than to see the other fellowship as a potential ally in the work to be done? The church functions more like a business than it does like a military expeditionary force, and that is a problem.