Monday, December 5, 2022

A Prayer for Growth (Eph. 3:14-19)

By Jeff Arnette


    I am certain that you, like myself, are praying for the growth of the Lord’s church here and throughout the world. Regularly, I am praying for growth especially in the ways that the Lord wants us to grow but what is that. True growth is so much more than simply metrics like attendance numbers or contribution amounts. Real growth is growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). It is growing in our understanding of and imitation of Jesus (Eph. 4:15-16) in our daily lives.

    We tend to think that growth is something the preacher does for the church but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The preacher can be a catalyst, but real church growth begins in you and then extends to the whole church.

    In Ephesians 3:14-19, the apostle Paul prayed for the growth of the Ephesian Christians. His prayer reveals much about true Christian growth. I want to challenge you to adopt Paul’s view on true growth and to pray every day for the growth of this church. Notice that Paul prays for growth in four primary areas.

    First in verse 16, he prays for them to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in their soul. This power is the power of the Holy Spirit living and working within each one of us and enabling with a power that is like dynamite inside us. We need to learn to depend on and trust in this power of God that is at our disposal.

    Secondly in verse 17, I want you to notice that he prayed that Christ would dwell in their hearts. Paul knew that the Ephesians needed to not only know that Christ was within them but also being guided by it. He was praying that Christ would be their center, that he would be the focus of all that they did in this life. We too need to learn to focus on Christ and let him be the center of our life, the focal point of all that we do.

    Third in verses 18-19, Paul prayed that they would be able to comprehend the truest expression of Christ love for them. He said that he needed them to be able to understand what that really looked like, what it felt like to be loved by Jesus. To understand the love of Christ for ourselves and others will, or at least it should change your life. It was what changed Paul and he knew that it would do the same for us (Acts 9). We to need to focus on and learn to comprehend the truest expression of Christ love for us and others.

    Lastly in verse 19, Paul prayed that they would be filled with the fullness of God. He knew that if they were filled up with God and the things of God true growth would happen. Church, the same is true for us too. If we will fill our lives, minds, and hearts with the things of God we will grow in amazing and powerful ways.

    Once we grow as individual Christians and embody what it means to radiate the life and love of Jesus, shining as lights in this world (Matt. 5:14-16), then growth will happen. Will you join me in committing to praying for this church? Praying for personal, spiritual growth in each person?

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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