I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV).
Ephesians 3:17-19 is one of the most important passages in the Bible, and verse 19 is perhaps the most important verse in the whole Bible. Beginning in the second part of verse 17 there is a clear transition in the prayer. Paul focuses on God’s love for us. He points out that when we came to faith in Jesus (i.e., when we were “rooted and established”), it was in love and because of love. One of the first verses most of us hear is John 3:16, which says that because God so loved the world, “He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Even though I did not know this Scripture when I put my faith in Jesus, I put my faith in Him because I believed that He was really God, and that He loved me very much. Over the years as I “matured ” in the Christian faith, however, I somehow got away from the primacy of God’s love, until I effectively had a “work to please God” mentality. But Paul’s prayer here takes us back to the primacy of God’s love for us.
Paul prays in verse 18 that we could have power to grasp the dimensions of God’s love for us. He emphasizes that this is something that all believers — Paul uses the word “saints” here to refer to all followers of Jesus — might gain this knowledge. He makes it very plain that he is praying for each believer. God’s love for me (and you!) is so magnificently huge that we cannot ever hope to really grasp its full dimensions. Even so, Paul prays that at least we begin to grasp and expand the boundaries of what we understand as God’s love for us.