Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Paul declares,

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (NKJV)

God can do superabundantly above all that we ask or think! How? By His power, working in and with us. Think for a moment of all that is available to us in God through Christ. Yet, what we do know, what we have seen, and what we have tasted is but a small glimpse of the glory of God yet to be revealed!

We can go beyond the limits of all human descriptions, and we can imagine more than God has specified in His Word, and we would still not be able to imagine all that there is in God! There is so much more in God available to us!

To discover this reality, it begins with a devoted relationship to God through Jesus Christ. Let’s look at this today through Paul’s second apostolic prayer for the Ephesians today.

Prayer for Power

Paul’s first prayer in Ephesians 1:15-19 is for the believers to have the revelation of Christ and His resurrection authority and power. His second prayer for the Ephesians is for the Holy Spirit’s power to fill every believer (Ephesians 3:14-21).

God has always desired a people who would know Him, walk with Him, and—by His power—confound and displace the powers of darkness (Eph. 3:10). Stay humble; your boasting is in the Lord! However, recognize also that Jesus wants to work through you and me to advance His Kingdom in a fallen world.

Twentieth-century healing minister John Lake stated, “Christ has a purpose in you! His purpose in you is to reveal Himself to you, through you, and in you!”

Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:16 for the Ephesians “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” Paul prays that, from God’s fullness, we would be strengthened by His power in the inner man. Paul told the Corinthians,

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7 NKJV)

We are earthen vessels; we are metaphorically clay pots being crafted by the Master Potter, Jesus. Clay pots are weak. They crack. They fade. Using this metaphor, Paul declares that we are strengthened by His power in our inner man.

When you are down, feeling weak, look to Jesus. Cry out, “Lord, strengthen me with Your might in my inner person!”

I personally experienced this in January 1995. My family and I were missionaries in Haiti. It was a challenging time for our young family. Our daughter was only a year old. Ministry was tough and living in a developing nation was challenging. God led me to fast for three days after reading Ezra 8. He reminded me that “my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Last Saturday night, the Lord led me to my journal entry during that fast 28 years ago. My opening words in the journal were, “I feel tired, weak, and discouraged.” But I clung to God’s promise then, and still do today, nearly 30 years later! He did bring us a breakthrough, but we had to walk confidently with Him through that trying season. God was faithful then, and He has proven faithful every year since!

When you are discouraged or tempted to quit, remind yourself of the faithfulness of God, and of His love, provision, and ability to strengthen you by His might in the inner person!

Prayer for Love

Paul prays in Ephesians 3:17 “that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.” How does Christ dwell in our hearts? Through faith. Faith is fueled by a revelation of Christ and our love for Him.

As we keep our focus upon Jesus and live in Him, He fills our hearts. Our affections spring from Christ dwelling within. But when we start to allow other things to creep in, our love for Christ and our faith can grow cold. It happened to believers in Ephesus.

Jesus commended them, but He also corrected them and admonished them to change:

“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:4-5 NKJV)

Paul prays for an understanding of love to be evident, “being rooted and grounded in love.” When Jesus is at the center of our affections through faith, then the reality of being grounded in love becomes possible—for God is love (1 John 4:8).

Note, Paul doesn’t say we are rooted and grounded in sound doctrine, but rather in love. Sound doctrine is important, but what really anchors us in Christ is love—His love for us, our love for Him, and our love for others. Sound doctrine apart from pure love of Christ can lead us to loveless legalism.

The way we pursue love is by pursuing the God of love. Love is the gateway to knowledge. Knowledge apart from God’s love is distorted. Knowledge shared that is rooted and grounded in love is life-giving. The essence of revival is renewed love for Jesus. The sign of Christianity is not a cross, but a heart on fire for Jesus!

Paul states in Ephesians 3:18-19 that love compels us to go further to “know the width, the length, the depth and the height of the love of Christ (which passes knowledge) to be filled with all the fullness of God.” This doesn’t mean we will know everything, but those filled with the love of Christ will have greater, depth, breadth, etc. than they could otherwise.

Knowing God’s love intimately is the first step toward walking in God’s power. Power apart from love is dangerous. Faith works through love.

When our heart is full of the love of God, we are secure and confident in Him. Our motives for prayer and ministry are in accordance with God’s nature and Word.

Ephesians 3:20: “…above all that we ask or think…”

Remember the promise in Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (NKJV)

Not only is God able to do for us beyond what we can imagine, but He is willing to do the limitless for us! Superabundantly! Only believe!

Jesus promised us in Luke 11:9-13 NKJV, “…ask, and it will be given… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!”

The three imperatives (ask, seek, and knock) are in the Greek present tense, suggesting a continuous asking, seeking, and knocking. Greek for ask, aiteo, means to request or petition. The word denotes insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute!

Jesus encourages prayer by reminding us of the nature of the One to whom we are praying. If faulty human parents will meet the real needs of their children instead of deceiving them with harmful gifts, how much more can we expect our heavenly Father to bless us with the best gift—the Holy Spirit—as well as the lesser gifts?

Our primary needs are spiritual, and a proper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit is the ground of assurance that He will provide both spiritual and material needs.

Ephesians 3:20: “…according to the power (krátos) that works in us.”

Because you are in Christ, God Himself empowers your life and your prayers. This power is not through human effort but through the inner strength of God’s might!

Paul wrote many times of this power in Eph. 1:19, 3:20, 6:10, Col. 1:11, and 1 Tim. 6:16. In these verses, the English word power is translated from the Greek word krátos. Krátos means “strength, manifested power, and dominion.” [1]

The word primarily signifies exerted strength and power shown effectively in a governing authority. Krátos, as used in these verses, primarily refers to God’s Kingdom power, dominion, and majesty as demonstrated through the resurrection of Jesus. You are enthroned with Jesus in His krátos: His dominion, authority, and resurrection power.

You are united with Christ, with both His life and His power. “Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us” (Eph. 3:20 CEB). Where is the power at work? —Within you!

Jesus said in the book of John,

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said, “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him…) (John 7:38–39 NLT)

Through your union with Jesus, you are in Him, and God’s power is within you through the Holy Spirit. It is the same power God demonstrated when He raised Jesus from the grave.

Final Thoughts

This means that presently, you have resurrection power attached to your life. What does resurrection mean? It means raising things back to life that look or act dead.

God demonstrated this “power toward us who believe” first “in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:19–20). The power in you is the same power God demonstrated when He raised Jesus out of the grave; it is His resurrection power!

When we pray for revival, we are praying for God’s resurrection power to work in the heart of the backslidden, lost, and hopeless in our world; we are praying that His resurrection life would revive that which is dead or needs to be renewed.

This includes our lives and families. Revival begins with each of us individually. All compromise, lukewarmness, and sinful behavior must be repented of and replaced by pure devotion and love for Christ and actively doing good works.

Be confident that through Christ, God has made you His dwelling place. All that God can do—and all that He has promised to do—will be done by the power of the Holy Spirit who works mightily in us! The Holy Spirit acts with energy in our hearts!

God’s power is not “out there” somewhere, but it is right within us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:17 that the Holy Spirit “dwells with you and will be in you.”

God wants to show Himself strong through us to preach the gospel to the poor, to bring healing to the sick and brokenhearted, to bring deliverance to the captives, and to demonstrate His love and greatness in this age. Again, this will happen right in our own hearts, families, and churches! Revival first begins with us and those close to us who have become dry and disconnected from God.

Church, let us take hold of the reality that God is desiring to do greater things in our midst than we have ever dreamed of by the power of the Holy Spirit who is with us and in us!

For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “His Power that Works in Us”:


[1] Wilhelm Michaelis, “Κράτος (θεοκρατία), Κρατέω, Κραταιός, Κραταιόω, Κοσμοκράτωρ, Παντοκράτωρ,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 908.

Bob Sawvelle

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