The apostle Paul included many prayers in the letters that he wrote to churches and fellow disciples. Among those prayers were at least sixteen prayers that we might categorize as benedictory prayers.
Perhaps the most loved of all the benedictions is the one Paul prayed for the Ephesian church:
- Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 20-21).
This benediction is in the middle of Paul’s letter to that church, but it concludes his incredible prayer for them (Ephesians 3:14-19). The prayer and the benediction include some of the most majestic descriptions of the riches of God’s glory imparted to His children.
- Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think …
No matter how big our prayers, God’s supply is bigger still. – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). – His thoughts are much, much higher. He is not only able to, but does do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.
God, our Heavenly Father who loves to dote on His children, gives us more than we can ever request. It is true on earth, and it will be true in Heaven. – Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). – Just as an earthly father watches with glee as his child opens a gift to discover that it was bigger and better than anything he had hoped for, God surprises us time and again with incredible blessings beyond our imaginations.
Psalm 105:1-2 tells us to … Make known His deeds among the peoples … Talk of all His wondrous works! Our conversations with others can be filled with examples of how good God is to us and how He has answered our prayers. Especially those in the church understand when we share our stories, as they can also cite instances of God’s abundant grace in their own lives.
- … according to the power that works in us …
Many times our examples have to do with God getting us through what appears to be an impossible situation. In Christ, we have all the resources of the Godhead to accomplish anything He asks us to do. An old hymn reminds us to “trust and obey.” That is our part. God’s part is to do all the work! Isaiah 26:12 says, Lord, You have also done all our works in us.
- … to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.
Many things in this world do not last. Flowers fade; grass withers; wood decays, etc. Anything done by God’s power in God’s church (His body) for His glory will last forever.
So be it!
© Stephanie B. Blake
This devotional is adapted from my book, The Prayer Driven Life