On the first day of the week, nearly 2,000 years ago the Lord Jesus Christ rose victoriously from the grave. Just a few short days ago, we at First Baptist Church of Ham-burg had a resurrection celebration as we shared a wonderful meal and then participated together in a joyful worship service. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the corner-stone of the gospel and without it everything falls apart. For the church of Jesus Christ, the resurrection impacts everything!
One specific area that the resurrection ought to impact the church is how we pray for one another. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and he told them his prayer request for them. How are you praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ? That can be a convicting question. Maybe you haven’t been praying for your church family. Maybe you have been praying some selfish requests. No matter how you answer that question, consider the apostle Paul’s request for the church at Ephesus: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and rev-elation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17-18a).
In summary, Paul’s request for the church is that they would know who they are in Jesus Christ. Then, Paul provides three specific areas in which the believers would know Jesus Christ. First, that they would know the hope of His calling (vs. 18b). Second, that they would know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (vs. 18c). And then he concludes with these words, “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (vs. 19). Did you catch that last request? The resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that is at work in us who believe. And Paul wants the church to have their eyes open to that power. He wants them to know Christ and His resurrection power in their lives.
This becomes vitally important when we get to the practical section of Ephesians. We are called to put off the old man and put on the new. This is not something we can do in our own strength, but only through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. The book concludes with this admonition, “Finally my brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).” The resurrection of Jesus Christ declares the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. In His power we as believers find our strength to stand and fight temptation.
So even though our wonderful Resurrection Day celebration is behind us for 2019, remember that for the believer it is far more than a day to celebrate. The resurrection of Jesus Christ impacts everything, including how we pray for one another. The resurrection is a cornerstone doctrine for the church; prayer is a vital discipline for the church. And in Ephesians 1, prayer and the resurrection go together. So when you pray for yourself, your family and your brothers and sisters in Christ, make it your request that they will know Christ and the power of His resurrection.