“I pray that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory...” - Ephesians 3:16a
At this point in Ephesians, Paul has already referred to the glorious riches of God four times. As we compare each time that Paul mentions God’s abundance, we gain a greater understanding of the character and the resources of God. When we pray, we are tapping into a treasury that is vast beyond our wildest imagination.
1) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” Ephesians 1:7-8
How great are His riches? They are as great as His generosity.
In other words, if we want to know how extensive His glorious riches are, we need to grasp a hold of how massive His grace is. If we are being honest, it would have been an extraordinary measure of grace for God to say, “At the point of salvation, you are saved from an eternity in Hell and will now only have to endure misery for an allotted time.” That would have been an inconceivable amount of grace... Or if He would have said, “Because of your repentance and obedience you are redeemed from Hell, and now when you die, you will simply go to a place where you will experience nothing and you will be forgotten.” That would have been an unimaginable measure of grace compared to the wrath we deserve for our sin. Yet God doesn’t offer us either of these things. Instead, He welcomes us into His Kingdom - not as servants or as angels - but as His children... but the Lord doesn’t stop there...
He doesn’t offer just a drop of grace to you and a little piece of grace to me. He lavishes His grace over us. He pours His grace on us. He drenches us in His grace... and He doesn’t stop there...
He then extends wisdom and insight to us. It is as if He is saying, “I am going to forgive you and I am going to cleanse you. I will save you from an eternity separated from me but I have a few extra things that I would also like to throw in. How about wisdom and understanding?” Friends, this is the generosity of our God! This is the massive nature of our God! If we don’t see God being this over the top in how He answers our prayers, we will pray with less faith and enthusiasm. There is no one who gives like our God!
2) “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might.” Ephesians 1:18-19
How great are His riches? They are as great as His power.
Imagine you’re standing on the beach. Your toes are wet by the rhythmic waves crashing along the sand where your feet are planted. You breathe in deeply, smelling the salty air. Closing your eyes, you hear the sounds of the birds chirping overhead as gravity pulls the water against your ankles once again before releasing it to the sea. When you open your eyes, you look to the horizon and realize that you can only see a fraction of this body of water. You think to yourself, “Surely this must be an example of God’s power.”
Well, it’s not. It isn’t even comparable.
Or maybe you begin to think about the universe. You consider the planets which are in orbit, keeping exact position and time. Your mind drifts to thoughts of known space and unknown space and to the hundreds of billions of galaxies and you think, “Surely this must be a picture of the awesome power of God!” But it’s not. I mean, it is... but not really. The things that we can see through a telescope or figure through our logic simply cannot compare to the incredible power of God. His greatness cannot be defined by a solar system or by anything on a single planet. There are places all throughout scripture where humans try to offer an explanation of the greatness of God - but the beauty, brilliance and strength that we imagine as a picture of God’s authority is only a glimpse. Nothing in creation compares to the power of God. And when we come to Him in prayer, we are tapping into this incomparable power.
3) “...and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7
How great are His riches? They are as great as His grace.
Perhaps it will not be until we experience eternity when we will be able to understand truly how unreasonable the humility and grace of God are. For all of time and eternity, we are seated next to Christ. For all of time and eternity, we are children of God. For all of time and eternity, we are an example of His incomparable riches and grace. It is so far beyond reason.
The idea tied to the incomparable riches of God is that it goes far beyond the mark. It would be as if you were competing in shot put and all you needed to do to become the champion is to throw it 100 feet. But you’re like superman, and instead of throwing it 100 feet, you throw it 100 miles. The Lord gives this far beyond reason to us.
4) “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of His power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” Ephesians 3:7-8
How great are His riches? They are as great as His desire.
When God responds you can’t quantify it. You can’t track it, trace it, explain it or replay it. When God responds you’ll find yourself asking, “How did this happen?” There is no way these things should have all lined up this way, but yet they have...
When God responds it is so far beyond logic. It is as if we asked for a loan and God gave us the bank. When God responds we are left in awe, wondering, “How can this be?”
When we pray we are tapping into a treasury that is vast beyond our wildest imagination. When God answers it is with abundance and grace. When we grasp a hold of His character and recognize the amount of generosity He extends to us, our prayers become strengthened.
Director of Student Ministries