14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
~ Ephesians 3:14-19
As our school year winds to an end, I wanted to leave you with this famous prayer from the book of Ephesians. This passage has significance to me because this is the passage of Scripture that I chose to pray over Valerie at our wedding. Paul is famous for these run-on sentences that are packed full of theological truths. Let’s break it down.
There are 4 ‘that’ clauses which build on each other in this one sentence. I want to walk us through them backwards so that we can see what the end result is and then explore how to get there.
The last ‘that’ clause is “that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This is the target. Paul is praying for the Ephesians (and all who are faithful in Christ) to be filled with God, to the fullness of God. This means we will be overflowing with love for those around us.
Working backwards, to get to being filled with God, we have the third ‘that’: “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend what is the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” This is such a rich picture of trying to wrap our finite minds around an infinite God who loves us so much that we must be strengthened in our attempt to understand Him.
The second ‘that’ is “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” This is a prerequisite to understanding God’s love. He must live within us, and this requires faith on our part. Before this and coming to the first ‘that’, Paul prays that God may, through the riches of His glory, grant us to be strengthened in our inner being through His Spirit. It is because of God’s generosity that we are even given the chance to take the next step of faith.
This is my prayer for you this summer, that at whatever stage of this process you are in, that God will tip over the next domino in your life that will lead to you being filled to overflowing with the love of God.