Introduction: We all love to be praised. How many of us equally
appreciate someone praying for us? What would your reaction be if
someone told you, “I’m going to pray that you get a lot smarter?” Is
that an example of both prayer and praise? In our study this week,
Paul praises the Ephesians, and then prays that they “get smarter.”
Let’s jump into our lesson to learn more!

  1. Praise

    1. Last week, we studied in Ephesians 1:13-14 that the
      believers in Ephesus were “sealed” with the Holy Spirit.
      That seal was their security deposit assuring them of
      heaven. Read Ephesians 1:15-16. Paul starts out “For this
      reason.” For what reason? (Paul’s understanding that they
      are saved.)

      1. What other good things has Paul heard about the
        Ephesians? (That they have faith in Jesus and they
        love each other.)

        1. Do you pray for those who seem to have their act
          together spiritually?

          1. Why would Paul consider the salvation of
            the Ephesians one of his own blessings?
            (It shows his “fatherly” attitude towards

          2. Why would Paul flatter the Ephesians with
            the inside knowledge that he thanks God
            for them?

  2. Prayer, Wisdom and Encouragement

    1. Read Ephesians 1:17. Imagine that during the prayer time
      in church someone stood up and said, “I pray all the time
      that God will give(insert your name) the spiritual gift of
      wisdom.” How would you react to that?

      1. Add the fact that the person praying for you has
        recently been in some sort of conflict with you. What
        would you be thinking? Would you stand up and say
        “I’ve also been praying that (the other person) would
        be given some wisdom by God, starting with the nature
        of their public prayers about me!”

    2. What Paul writes could be taken as an insult. Tell me what
      specific technique Paul uses to keep this from sounding
      like an insult? (The first thing Paul did was to praise
      them for their spiritual progress. The second thing he
      did was to suggest that he wanted them to grow in
      knowledge. Since everyone can grow, this is not an
      insult. Third, he addressed it to the group, and did not
      single out any specific person who was especially in need
      of wisdom.)

    1. Notice in Ephesians 1:17 Paul also prays that they will
      have the Spirit of “revelation.” What do you think that
      means? (When I looked this up in the Greek, and looked at
      the way the word had been translated elsewhere, I got the
      feeling that it was a cross between a greater
      understanding of Jesus and His plan for His Second

    2. What is the purpose of this additional wisdom and
      revelation which Paul requests for the Ephesians? (To know
      Jesus better.)

    3. We have discussed our reaction if someone else prayed for
      greater wisdom for us. Do you pray for greater wisdom and
      revelation for yourself? How about your pastor? Your

    4. Recall that Paul started out saying that the Ephesians
      were saved – they were sealed by the Holy Spirit. They
      loved each other. What does Paul’s prayer teach us about
      being satisfied with mere salvation? (The Christian’s life
      is one of progress. We should desire to keep moving
      towards greater knowledge of Jesus, greater wisdom and

  1. Prayer for Our Future

    1. Read Ephesians 1:18. Paul has another “you need to know
      more” prayer for the people. What is it?

    2. I’m not sure my anatomy is the same as the people living
      in Ephesus. My heart does not have eyes. How about yours?

      1. Seriously, when Paul refers to the “eyes” of the
        “heart” what does he mean? (He is not really talking
        about the heart or the eyes. He is talking about
        spiritual understanding. Something that you know

      2. What does Paul want us to know inside? (Our future.
        Our inheritance as saints.)

      3. Have you ever prayed that God would more clearly
        reveal your future reward to you?

    3. When I was young, I thought and planned about what I
      intended to accomplish in my life: what education I
      needed, what would be my profession, my professional
      goals. As I get older, I think more about “semi-retirement,” where I will live as I grow old, whether I
      will have enough money, health and mental ability to get
      along until the day I die. How about you? When you think
      about the future, on what are your thoughts centered?
      (Paul is teaching me that my thoughts are certainly
      inadequate. I need to be contemplating my “semi-retirement” in heaven. You need to be contemplating and
      learning more about God’s heavenly reward for you.)

  2. Prayer for Power

    1. Read Ephesians 1:19-21. Paul has another prayer for the
      Ephesians, a prayer for power. Would you like to become

      1. For whom does this power exist? (“For us who

      1. What kind of power is this? How great a power for us
        does Paul request? (This power is like what God the
        Father used to raise Jesus from the dead and seat Him
        on His throne in heaven.)

        1. Would that kind of power take care of all of
          your “power” needs?

    1. When I was young, during the “muscle-car” days, I mostly
      drove European sports cars. These cars were designed to
      be fast around corners, but they had little “muscle” in
      the engine department. However, one American car I owned
      was much different. It was a Mercury Cyclone GT, with a
      huge engine (390 cubic inches), a “dual-feed” carburetor,
      an aluminum hood held down by racing pins, and various
      other things designed to allow it to go fast. Unlike the
      European cars, it was terrible going around corners. The
      problem with the Cyclone was its tires. They were pretty
      narrow and that kept the car from effectively applying all
      of the power of the engine.

      1. Paul tells us that we have this tremendous amount of
        power available to us. What do you think is keeping
        us from effectively applying all of that power? What
        is the equivalent of the tire problem in my Cyclone?

        1. What keeps us from having “traction” with the
          power of God?

    2. Read Ephesians 1:22-23. Who has all authority today?
      (Jesus. God placed “all things” under His (Jesus) feet.)

      1. Where do you come into play in this text? (We are the
        body, the church. Jesus is the head of the church,
        and we are the hands and feet – the body.)

        1. What does this suggest about the power of God
          available to us? (It suggests a couple of
          things. First, that the way in which the power
          of God is applied is decided by Jesus. He is the
          brains of the operation. Second, it is the body
          (us) who actually apply the power. My brain
          decides what my body will do, but my body
          performs the action.)

        2. What does this analogy to the body suggest about
          the answer to our question about applying the
          power of God? What could be the problem? (It
          suggests the lack of power in the church exists
          because Jesus has decided not to fully apply it,
          or it could be that the body is not in close
          enough contact with the head – so that the
          instructions from the brain are not getting

          1. Which answer do you think applies? (Notice
            again that in Ephesians 1:18-19 Paul prays
            that the “eyes of the heart” of the
            Ephesians would be “enlightened” to know
            about this “incomparably great power.”
            This implies the problem exists with us.)

    3. Friend, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be wiser and
      more aware of the power available to them from God. Will
      you pray that same prayer for your church and for

  1. Next week: The Church: God’s Workmanship.