Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
Jesus, why choose me Lord? I know You didn’t choose me as an apostle, but why choose me at all? I should be so lost right now. What is going on? Why did You choose Paul? I know You can choose whomever You wish. Help me Lord to live a life worthy of Your merciful choice of me. Change me Lord. Change me.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Jesus, obviously You are the source of all grace and peace. I need You so bad. I need to change so much. I need the peace that passes all understanding . I am afraid I am falling backwards Lord. Please catch me. Father, I know I can never deserve to call you that. But Jesus died so I could, so now I will. Father, please help me be the son you want me to be. I know I don’t listen very well to You. I’m like a teenager even though I am WAY older than that. Change me Father. Change me.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
Father, that is such a statement, it is almost impossible to believe! To think that You would bless me with “every spiritual blessing” is too awesome. And since the worldly things all pass away, spiritual blessings are the best blessings. How could it get any better? Help me to grasp what it is You have given me so I may live as You want me to.
And Father, never let me forget why You have blessed me. It is nothing I did. It is only because of Jesus. Only through Him am I blessed. Keep me united with Jesus. Keep me close to him. Keep me, for I am week and can easily fall. Keep me Jesus. Change me Father.
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Jesus, how can I be “holy and without fault” in the Father’s eyes? Holy Spirit open my eyes, enlighten me, soften my heart. It is a total gift. Father, You chose me and Jesus, You died for me. I am holy! It is so amazing, so incredible. Help me to tell the world what You have done through a truly changed life. Thank-you so much. What can I say?
5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Jesus, Father, what can I say? I cannot comprehend this. Open my heart and mind. I have a son. I can’t imagine choosing to sacrifice him for someone as awful as me. How can such love and generosity exist? And it is completely Your grace…amazing grace. I have done nothing to deserve Your love, absolutely nothing.
Holy Spirit change me so I love people because You do, not because they deserve it. Change me so I learn to have faith in Your love, guidance and power. Why would You choose me and save me, only to let me fall away. Help me to love others and love You with a sacrificial love.
8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Sorry Lord, but I don’t feel like I have much wisdom or understanding. Father, I can’t seem to figure out almost anything. Why am I still such a sinner? What am I supposed to do with my life, my money, my time, my friendships…? What will it take for me to mature as a disciple? Have I done anyone on earth any good at all?
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
Jesus, please bring everything under Your authority ASAP! I know You are speaking about the whole universe here, but I just mean in my life. When will I finally submit totally to You? “At the right time” I guess. But why the delay Lord? I don’t think I will ever really learn. I’m too slow, too proud, too foolish. Please just change me in the twinkling of an eye. Just change me now.
I know that is not Your will. I may not understand, but I know Your will is for me to walk this long road and learn Your way. Help me Holy Spirit. Help me learn and change as You wish. Help me submit to You every moment in every breath in every way. Amen.
12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Father, this is my calling, the calling of everyone who loves You: to “praise and glorify” You. You chose me. You saved me. Jesus paid the price for my sin. This is what You ask, that I live a life that brings You praise and glory. Is it not the least I can do? What could possibly give me more joy than to bring You glory.
Yet even this I cannot do without You. I fail so often. Holy Spirit, guide me and keep me and strengthen me. Help me to truly live a life of love and faith and purity so I may give You and Jesus and the Father some small amount of glory. Help me. Change me. Remind me of this purpose with every step I take.
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[e] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you.
Jesus, does anyone thank God for me? Do I have strong faith? Do I love God’s people everywhere? I know I am changed from how I once was. I have a lot of changing to do, but I am changed. My faith is certainly not strong. It was stronger when I was a child Lord. How can that be? But my love for others is much stronger. I really do care about others that I once despised. You are changing me Lord. Please keep up the good work. Please change me faster. At this rate I’ll never be a good disciple…but I guess I will be better than I am.
I pray for you constantly,
Jesus, how does Paul pray constantly? Can I do that? If I prayed constantly, I don’t think I would sin as much. I mean, I’d have to sin and pray at the same time. I know that is possible, I’ve done it! But it isn’t easy. What is constant prayer? I go hours and hours without even thinking of You. I’m probably worse now than I have been in years. How could I ever pray constantly? Show me how to do that Lord. Change me so that I am constantly praying.
17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[g]
Jesus, please flood my heart with light. I am so confused. I think I’m slipping further away from you and not closer. I need to know and understand You so much more. I can’t help but think that if I knew You better, I would be more like You, and finally stop sinning and start living the life You intend for me. How long will I return to my vomit?
Holy Spirit, please open my eyes and ears and heart. Just change me! Perhaps I don’t really mean what I pray, because it isn’t happening. Perhaps I don’t love You at all. What is going on?
I am supposed to have “confident hope”. Help me to grasp that. I guess I am to trust that in the end Your will for me will happen. I’m supposed to believe though I do not see. I am supposed to wait patiently. But please Lord, not too long. Do not lose me Lord. Change me.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Father, I need to understand this power. I see this power is for us…for me. I need that power in my life to raise me up from this death of sin so I can worship You as I should. I see myself as weak and falling, but we, You and I together, are not weak, we are strong. Lord, help me to live in Your strength and power, not in my weakness.
21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Jesus, You are in total control and You love us so much that You died for us. Why should I ever worry. Of course you so often command us to “be not afraid”. Help me Lord to rest in Your power and love and authority. Help me to live and a member of Your body should.
- Ephesians 1:1 The most ancient manuscripts do not include in Ephesus.
- Ephesians 1:6 Greek to us in the beloved.
- Ephesians 1:11 Or we have become God’s inheritance.
- Ephesians 1:13 Or he put his seal on you.
- Ephesians 1:15 Some manuscripts read your faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and to God’s people everywhere.
- Ephesians 1:17 Or to give you the Spirit of wisdom.
- Ephesians 1:18 Or called, and the rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his holy people.