Giving Thanks and Remembrance in Prayer—Ephesians 1:15-16
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayer” (Ephesians 1:15-16)
It is not unusual for the Apostle Paul to open each of his letter with a prayer for the people he’s writing to. However, Ephesians is unique because he stops twice to pray (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21). Both prayers are similar in that he is praying that they (and by extension us) will grasp the fullness of the mystery he’s writing about in this letter. The mystery is about Christ and the Church.
Paul opens by giving thanks for them because he’s heard about their faith in Christ Jesus and of their love for the saints of God, but also because of what he shared in the previous verses: “…and you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).
Because they, too, belonged to Christ, marked with the promised Holy Spirit, Paul rejoices and gives thanks for them. Why? Because this is the starting point to understanding and obtaining everything given in Christ. Paul spends the rest of this letter (and most all of his letters) explaining and revealing these things, so he rejoices that these believers are primed to learn and receive this revelation in Christ.
Like these believers, we, too, can obtain everything given in Christ by first accepting the gospel message and then being built up in the knowledge of the Son of God, which ushers us into maturity and unity of faith (Eph. 4:13). And so a good application is to take a cue from the Apostle Paul and start praying this exact thing for ourselves and fellow believers. In fact, Paul closes the letter to the Ephesians with similar instructions: “…and pray in the Spirit on all occasion with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).
What a good reminder. Today, I pray that you take time to celebrate the faith and love of those around you who have encouraged your walk with God. Take a moment to thank God for them and pray a special blessing over them.