“On behalf of this I bend my knees before my Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named,”
What is the “this” of which Paul is speaking? In context, Paul is referring to the trials and tribulations that the people of Ephesus (and by extension, the whole church) are facing and by which they will be refined in their faith. For it is God who has named every family or people — the Greek term here is πατριά (patria), meaning any body of people that can be connected by birth or lineage to a given line: families, peoples, nations, etc… Those in heaven (the elect who have died and entered glory) have been so named by God. Those remaining on earth (the elect who are the church militant along with those elect in whom God has yet to work to give them rebirth) also have been named by God. We have been so chosen and named by our Father in heaven because we are not our own, but belong to Him.
It should be noted that Paul is using a little wordplay here to reinforce his point. Paul bows his knees before his Father — πατἠρ (pater) — on behalf of the families — πατριά (patria) — of the heavens and earth. In a sense, he is saying, “I bow my knees to the Father on behalf of those who descend from fathers.” And, of course, the operable question with which we are left is whether we follow the Apostle’s model. Do you pray for the peoples? Do you pray for the lost? Do you pray for the church? Do you pray for your pastor? If not, you ought. You must.