Paul’s Prayer for Experience – Gospel in Life

Paul’s Prayer for Experience

Tim Keller |  November 11, 2007

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  • Prayer & Meditation
  • God's Love
Ephesians 3:14-21
RS 198-7


We are going through a series of case studies on prayer and spiritual encounters in the Bible. This message explores the greatest stack of model prayers in the New Testament — all found in the epistles of Paul. Paul’s letters are filled with prayers, and they are probably the biggest single stash of prayers in the New Testament that will help us understand how to pray.

The message of this particular prayer in Ephesians is that you should expect and seek profound, life-changing spiritual experiences of the love and joy of God. If we take a look and study the passage, we’re going to see: 1) Why we need it; 2) What that life-changing spiritual experience is; and 3) How to receive it.

Ephesians 3:14–21

This section discusses prayer and spiritual experiences, which are increasingly intriguing to people, regardless of their faith. Ephesians 3:14-21 is an example of prayer that emphasizes the importance of deep, life-changing encounters with God’s love and joy. The goal is to grasp why we need these experiences, what they are like, and how to achieve them. This uncovers the power of Christ’s love and the completeness of God.

1. Why we need it

Paul prays in Ephesians for Christ to live in the hearts of believers and for them to understand His love. Even though these are fundamental parts of Christianity, Paul’s prayer shows there’s a difference between knowing about Christ’s love and truly experiencing it. Many Christians know Christ loves them, but they don’t always let that love affect their feelings and actions. The journey of faith includes times of feeling distant from God and times of great joy, as we grow into the full life God wants for us.

2. What life-changing spiritual experience is

The sermon examines a deep spiritual experience, expressed through three requests. The first is about the Holy Spirit giving us strength and shaping our personality’s core. The second focuses on truly knowing and feeling Christ’s love, making Him as real to us as anyone else in our lives, and reducing the importance of worldly things. The third request is about a life totally changed by the fullness of God, showing that experiencing Christ’s love should not only affect our feelings but also our way of life.

3. How we receive it

There are four practical ways to experience Christ’s love: active prayer, persistent struggle, group study, and focusing on Christ. It’s important to actively engage with Christ’s teachings, not just accept them passively. Praying and seeking are seen as gifts. It’s suggested that even when God seems absent, He might be present, encouraging us to desire His presence. The idea of persistent struggle, along with prayer, is also presented.




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