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WITH PAUL IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER, PART 2

WITH PAUL IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER, PART 2

810goyaI pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

PART 2

There are few images as delightful as the image of a friend’s house. A friend’s house is where you can go and know that you are always welcome. It’s a place where you can kick off your shoes, take off your coat and your ‘mask’, relax, and be yourself. It’s a place you feel right at home. “Mi Casa, Su Casa”, we say!

Just writing these words stirs in me thoughts of friends’ houses, and feeling at home there. And to think that Jesus longs to be at home with us and to share His life with us!

Today’s prayer request from Ephesians 3 is about Jesus being at home with us, and about our welcoming Him there. Like Paul’s first request we looked at last week, this second request is introduced by the word “that”: “I pray…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

There are several Greek words in the New Testament translated as “to dwell”, but the word Paul uses here is unusual. It is the word kataoikeo, literally meaning, “to dwell deep down”. It’s a word picture combining the verb oikeo (“to dwell”), and the preposition kata (“down”). Kataoikeo suggests being in deep, being settled in, feeling right at home.

Paul uses the language of intimacy and relationship, praying that Jesus be at home in believers’ hearts “by faith”. He does not pray that Christ live in believers “by sight”, but “by faith”. That is because faith is the only means by which we perceive spiritual things, the only means by which we would perceive Christ in us. For instance, a blind person can stand in front of the Mona Lisa and not perceive its presence, much less its beauty. So it is by faith that we perceive Christ alive in us, and the way we know His love and beauty.

Years ago I longed to know and to experience the reality of Jesus in me. I wanted to know Him in the kind of intimacy we sang of in the old hymn:

“And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”

It was “by faith”, not by anything I did, that I began to know and to enjoy Jesus at home in me, and it was by faith I welcomed Him there.
Note in Paul’s prayer that he asks for Jesus to be at home in believers’ hearts, as they are “being rooted and grounded in love”. As we root and ground our lives in God’s infinite love, we experience more and more His being at home in us. Just like the old hymn, we do begin to know Him walking and talking with us, and telling us we are His own. By faith!

Yet again this week Paul shows us a magnificent prayer to pray! Won’t you join me in praying it for ourselves and for others, and see the difference it begins to make!

I pray…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are rooted and grounded in love.

Grace and peace,
Tim

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