Because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, I do not cease [praying for you, that God] may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.(Ephesians 1:15–18)
If I heard someone pray for God to open the eyes of my heart, I might think they doubted if I was really a Christian.
Paul’s prayer for these believers seems kind of unusual, even inconsistent at first. “Because I have heard of your faith,” Paul writes, he prays that God “may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.” If Paul believes these people are already believers, why does he ask God to open the eyes of their hearts? Don’t we just pray like that for unbelievers?
So Much More to See
He prays this way — and we ought to, as well — because God is not done showing us himself and his work when we first believe the gospel. Even though we have known Christ — really known him — and surrendered ourselves to him, we have not even scratched the surface of who he is and what he accomplished for us with his death on the cross.
It’s like any other relationship in our lives. We don’t stop trying to get to know someone after we’ve loved them, as if that’s the end of our relationship with them. No, our love drives us to know more of them, and more deeply. In the same way, there will always be new aspects to know and love about our Savior, if we have eyes to see them.
Paul prays specifically that believers would see three realities and know them more and more as we walk with Jesus: our hope in God, our wealth from God, and our safety with God.
1. Our Hope in God
Paul asked God that these loved ones know “the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18). They needed help from God to hold onto the hope they already had. Like the disciples in the boat during the storm, we’re far too easily frightened by the circumstances of this life. The darkness surrounds us, the winds blow violently, the waves come crashing into our lives. It often feels helpless, but that’s only because we’ve forgotten we’re with Jesus now.
Nothing can ultimately harm or destroy us because we’ve been saved and secured by God himself in his Son. And this God — whose wrath once burned against our sin and promised to punish us forever — this God has become for us “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). Now, by faith, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
2. Our Wealth from God
Secondly, Paul prays that they would know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). Paul loved his heavenly inheritance and relied on it daily to get through the poverty, persecution, and temptation he experienced in this life. Nothing that could be given to Paul, and nothing that could be taken from him, could compare with all that waited for him with God in glory.
Think about all we could suffer and lose if we had any idea of the true wealth and happiness we will have for millions of years after just a little while here on earth. The hope of an eternal inheritance will strengthen you to sing in the midst of loss, and it will help you deny the deceitful desires of this world. It’s a sure defense against the lesser, competing pleasures constantly warring against Christ for our heart and devotion.
May God open the eyes of our hearts to see the worth of what we have in and with him, and the emptiness and futility of the other things and people we’re prone to worship.
3. Our Safety with God
God has saved you, and he has secured an infinite, eternal inheritance for you. Thirdly, Paul prayed that we would know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19). Do you feel weak? We all do — some much more often than others. But we are all weak people.
You might be falling again in the same old patterns of sin, or struggling to believe that God could forgive your past, or seeing your inadequacies as a spouse, parent, or child, or feeling physical, emotional, or psychological burdens you can’t even explain, or experiencing any number of a thousand other weaknesses.
God wants you to know that the power to heal, the power to press on, the power to love and minister, the power to obey — any power you need — does not come from within you, but from within him. And if God’s power is in you, then you have an infinite, merciful, and invincible strength that will keep you and grow you in every circumstance. His divine power is for you, and not against you.
Remember, the Lord himself said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We Want More
We can spend the rest of our lives asking God to give us new glimpses of himself. Even in heaven — free from sin — we will never exhaust all there is to know and love about him. That’s the main thing that will make heaven so satisfying. We will constantly be meeting more of the infinite God — our Creator, Redeemer, and Father — and never getting to the end of him, never seeing everything there is to see.
God, open the eyes of our heart again.