My husband and I have a very international ministry in a large city in Japan. As a result, I have had contact with ladies from multiple countries and cultures. There have been times when I ask individual ladies what their greatest struggle is. The answer almost always has to do with feeling loved. If I were to ask them if they believed that God loves them, they would answer ‘yes’ because the Bible tells us this is true. But they lack that deep down in the heart assurance that God loves them personally, not just God so loves the world. This is something I have struggled with in my own life.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 has much to say about the love of God. Prior to this prayer, he spends time addressing the issue that the Jew and the Gentile are one in Christ. Ephesians 2:18 says that both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father through the Spirit. In chapter 3:14 it is for this cause, referring back to the truths of the unity of these believers, that Paul offers this prayer in chapter three. In the latter half of verse seventeen, Paul asks that they would be rooted and grounded in love. To be rooted is to be strengthened with roots, like a tree that has deep roots. It is fixed or unmoved. If something is grounded, it has a strong foundation. It is stable. Paul was praying that they would be strengthened or fixed and stable in God’s love. When my husband and I are stateside, we are in the southern states. We can have some pretty horrific storms here. The trees with shallow roots can topple quite easily. The trees with deep roots stand firm and strong when the storms come and the winds blow. When we are rooted in the love of God, we can be stable like the deep-rooted trees when the storms of life come.
In verse eighteen, Paul prays that they would be able to comprehend the love of Christ. To truly comprehend something is the idea of laying hold or taking possession of it. When you truly comprehend the love of Christ, it becomes a part of you. You can’t forget it. You won’t doubt it. If your mind begins to question, you will be able to refute it because of what God has taught you. The terms breadth, length, depth, and height all suggest the great extent of this love.
In verse nineteen, Paul continues to pray that they would know the love of Christ. This means we have to learn or be taught this love. It isn’t something that we automatically know or believe deep down in our hearts. It surpasses our limited knowledge. We can’t have the smallest little bit of understanding of it without the aid of the Holy Spirit. As we come to understand this great love, then we will be filled with all the fullness or abundance of God and continue to grow spiritually strong. It seems impossible to understand or comprehend all of this, but God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could possibly think to ask.
While these verses tell us about God’s great love for us, don’t overlook the fact that this is a prayer. We have to pray and ask God to help us understand His great love for us. Our comprehension and understanding have to come from Him. We can’t possibly understand this kind of love unless He opens our understanding.
I remember the day clearly when God began to show me His great love for me. It changed everything. I no longer question His love and if a question does enter my mind, I am able to refute it with what God has taught me. Maybe you have a friend that is struggling and she doesn’t believe that God loves her. Maybe you are struggling with this and believe that God loves others more than He loves you. I have a list of ladies (including myself) that I pray these verses for regularly. Instead of praying, “God bless my friend” or “God help me today” pray these verses instead. Dig deep into God’s Word and wait patiently for Him to answer. This is a prayer that He delights to answer.