Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.

Many of us grew up with this phrase only to learn otherwise. Words are powerful and creative. The power of our words is magnified when they are directed toward our Heavenly Father. Prayer changes things. The Apostle Paul understood this principle. In his letter to the church at Ephesus he wrote out the words of his prayer for their benefit and ours.

In chapter 3, Paul prayed to the Father “that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit.”

This is the Holy Spirit, the indwelling presence of God resident in every believer. Paul prayed to the Father, asking that they be strengthened through the Spirit in the depths of their being. Why? “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”

Did you realize that you need structural reinforcements just to carry the presence of Christ? It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit within the believer that provides the capacity for the life of Christ to abide within us. Listen to verse 17 again from the Amplified version of the Bible.

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“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love {and} founded securely on love,” …

But Paul’s prayer doesn’t end there. He takes a breath in the middle of verse 17 and then continues ... "that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people.”

Paul didn’t just pray for capacity, he also prayed for community.

There is a multiplication of power when God’s people gather together in unity and pray. Yes, we pray for needs, but there is a greater purpose and power for prayer. Paul prayed to the Father to send the Spirit through the provision of Jesus, that we might “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”

The Amplified Bible offers some additional clarity. It reads, “[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”

Our capacity was designed for community.

Then in verses 20-21, Paul prays for the centrality of Jesus: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Paul ended his prayer with a reminder of the centrality of Jesus. We the church, the body of Christ, live in Him and through Him and for Him. All power and glory and blessing belong to Him.

Paul wrote out his prayer for the believers at Ephesus so they could know exactly what he was praying for them.

Did you know someone is praying for you? If no one else, we know that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father making intercession. He’s praying for you and for me. Praying over someone speaks blessings and courage and hope. When God places someone on your heart - pray for them. Then call them and pray for them again.

We are the body of Christ. Let’s build each other up in our most precious faith.

Tim Walker is the pastor at New Life Community Church in Pine River.