By Stan Brown
Ephesians 1:16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
The word translated giving thanks is used thirty-nine times in the New Testament and always refers to giving thanks to God. Jesus uses this word nine times in conversation with the Father. It is used in connection with the Lord’s supper as we give thanks to God for salvation given us through the shed blood of Christ. Paul gives thanks to God for the Ephesian believers because of their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all the saints. Love for each other naturally proceeds from faith in Christ. This love was not just centered in the saints they knew but extended to all their fellow believers. Paul made praying for the believers in Ephesus a part of His regular prayer life. It is a cause for contemplation. Would Paul be able to give thanks for my faith? It is possible that it merely refers to their salvation. Yet, I must consider if my day to day life of faith and fellowship is worthy of thankfulness to God. Likewise, I wonder if my love for my fellow believers shines out the message of God’s love to the world.
The phrase making mention of you in my prayers looks both backward to Paul’s thankfulness and forward to the prayers he makes for us as believers. In that prayer, Paul will make one request in verse 17. He will then discuss the purpose and content of that request in the remainder of the chapter. This prayer for us as believers will be central to what we need to understand as we live in light of that insight. Paul could then jump right into the practical results in our lives that he discusses in the second half of the book as they are essentially built on the content of this prayer. First, he will tell us much more about what God has done for us. Tomorrow we will begin to delve a little deeper into the knowledge we must have as we seek to live in light of it.
We must start by exemplifying the qualities that invoke Paul’s thankfulness to God. That is faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all the saints. We must faithfully live by faith. We must also remember to give thanks for one another and mean it. I do thank God for each one of you. You are a bunch of precious folks.