HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:15-20)
Selected by God to build the foundation of the church, the apostles did so by bearing witness to the resurrected Christ, by their teaching, and by prayer.
The apostles were noted for prayer. When there was a need to provide for the widows in the early church, the apostles couldn’t do it because they had to devote themselves to “prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). When the leaders of the church at Antioch were fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit told them to set apart Paul and Barnabas for the ministry God had called them to (Acts 13:1-3). This was the beginning of Paul’s missionary journeys.
In addition, in the majority of the apostle Paul’s epistles to churches, he starts off sharing how he has been praying for them (Romans 1:9-10, Philippians 1:4, Colossians 1:9). Praying for God’s church was an important component of laying the foundation.
Although the foundation of the church has been laid and the original apostles have passed away, we can still have an apostolic ministry, specifically in the area of prayer. God wants to use us to build his church through prayer.
As we consider Ephesians 1:15-20, we learn principles of apostolic prayer—prayer that builds up God’s church.
We come to know God better by having the right disposition.
However, other commentators think Paul is not referring to the Holy Spirit but to a right disposition. John MacArthur says this:
But like our English spirit, pneuma sometimes was used as a disposition, influence, or attitude—as in “He is in high spirits today.” Jesus used the word in that sense in the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). He was not referring to the Holy Spirit or to the human spirit but to the spirit, or attitude, of humility.
The reason people have different views on the word “spirit” is that both are true. We need the Holy Spirit to know God, but we also need the right disposition to know God.
A person with a disposition of wisdom and revelation is a person who desires to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God. He hungers for God. Without a hunger to know God, we won’t ever get to know him deeply. Many Christians are simply content with their spiritual lives and their knowledge of God. They don’t have an inner disposition pushing them to pursue God and to know his voice and Word more. This type of disposition will never know God intimately.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We must have a heart that draws near God to find him. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
If we really hunger to know God more, then he will reveal himself to us. Do you hunger and thirst for his Word? Do you hunger and thirst for his presence? Listen to the prayer in Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Is this your disposition—famished apart from the knowledge of God? This is the disposition we must have. This is the disposition we must ask God for—for ourselves and for others.
If we are going to know God, we must labor constantly in prayer, as Paul did. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal God, and we must also pray that God will give us the right disposition to receive and know him more.