A Prayer for Enlightenment

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ… may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation…” (Ephesians 1:17)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:15-17

Paul doesn’t stop at thanking God for the Ephesian Christians. He prays for their spiritual growth as well.

He tells them that as he prays for them, he asks specifically that “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him…” (Ephesians 1:17). This is essentially a prayer for spiritual enlightenment.

Interestingly, in both this case and in the prayer recorded in Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul speaks of addressing God the Father in his prayers. He had a profound understanding of how the three persons of the Godhead related to salvation. He states it succinctly in Ephesians 2:18 where he mentions that both Jew and Gentile have access through Christ by one Spirit to the Father. The Christian’s “access” is to God the Father. He is the generous gift-giver (Luke 11:13), the supplier of all of our needs through the Spirit.

Here, the request Paul makes of the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” is for the “Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (v. 17). As we shall see, Paul’s desire is that his readers, many of whom had been converted out of pagan religions, would come to see the grandness of the scope of God’s gifts to them in Christ. To this end, they needed the Holy Spirit’s enlightening influence.

Paul speaks here of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of “wisdom and revelation”. “Wisdom” – insightful knowledge and understanding – is commonly associated with the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah, for example, speaks of the promised Messiah in this way: “…the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding…” (Isaiah 11:2). Coupled with wisdom is revelation, the unveiling of things hidden to the natural mind (1 Corinthians 2:15).

Two things are worth noting from what we have seen. The first is the importance of addressing our prayers to God the Father through Jesus in the power of the Spirit. While it is proper to commune with the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit in prayer and to make them objects of our worship, prayer as request is properly addressed to the Father. He is the great source of every spiritual blessing, and we need constantly to come to him as the One more ready and able to give than we are to ask.

Secondly, this passage reminds us of our need for the Holy Spirit’s enlightening influences. While our eyes might be opened to understand the gospel, and with that, be able to read the Scriptures with understanding, yet, there is still the need for the Spirit’s aid. We do not need new revelations, but we do need the Spirit to help us discern the mind of God in his Word and how that relates to our faith and duty.

Prayer to the Father for spiritual enlightenment is an unchanging need for all of us.       

Closing Thoughts:

  • Do you commonly address your requests to the Father?
  • Do you constantly seek the Spirit’s enlightening influence?

– Andrew Young