4.18.22 | Ephesians 3:14-21


*In-person at 12 Bassett St, Providence RI

Prayer Guide

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

When I was younger, I used to plant trees with my dad. The newspaper called him Dr. Appleseed – because he went around our hometown planting flowering fruit trees for free to beautify the city. If anyone wanted a flowering pear tree on their parking strip, he would go plant it. Planting a tree is hard work…I knew because I helped Dad dig the holes. You would have to dig a hole larger than the root ball of the tree so that the roots had room to reach out and grow. Then you had to fill the hole with water, so that when the roots came out of the root ball they didn’t go into shock. It was important, from the minute the tree roots hit the new hole, that they got a signal – there are nutrients here. That helped the roots to stay open and to absorb water and to grow and spread. Then, you needed to fill the hole with good soil. Soil that was properly amended for acidity and soil that had enough organic matter to retain moisture and feed the tree.

Basically, all the growth and life and flowering and survival of the tree depended on one thing. Could it become rooted and established in the new soil? If the tree rooted and established itself, it would grow and flower and thrive and produce fruit and beautify the neighborhood. If the tree didn’t take root and didn’t establish itself, it would wither and eventually die.

Paul prays for the Ephesian church and prays for us, that we will become rooted and established in love. In particular, in God’s love. When we are saved and adopted, we are transferred from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of light (Colossians 1). Like trees, we are planted in the soil of God’s love. But the thing that must happen for us to flourish and thrive is for the roots of our souls to establish themselves in the love of God. For the love of God to become the sure and certain foundation of our lives. For the roots of our souls to open and receive the love of God, at the core level of our being, in an ongoing way – just like those flowering pears needed to receive water in their roots. 

The reality is that many of us have rooted ourselves in other things besides God. We find our core identity in our work, or in the opinions of others, the approval of others. We find it in our success, or our accomplishments, or in our net worth. We find it on social media. We have rooted ourselves in things other than God and his love. The reality is that none of these things can sustain us spiritually…they are poor soil. Soil that holds no water. Soil that will not ultimately nurture our spiritual lives. We need to become rooted and established in God at the core level of our identity. Be honest with yourself. What is your identity rooted in today? Is it working?

Others of us are positionally in God’s love…but we are not, at a core level, rooted and established in God’s love. Deep down we do not know we are loved. Have not received God’s love. We are hiding things. We are walking in shame. We have not tasted and seen (or haven’t recently at least) at an experiential level, the unconditional love and acceptance of God for us just as we are. God loves us unconditionally. This does not mean he is content to leave us exactly as he finds us…but he welcomes us just as he finds us. And in order to grow in holiness, it is essential for us to know the love of God. And for our core identity to be rooted and established, deeply in this love…revealed in Jesus, who died for us on the cross. He laid down his life for us, so that we could be his friends. 

For Reflection/Prayer:

  • What are you rooted and established in? Where are you tempted to find your core identity, if not in Jesus? Can you renounce these things this morning? Pray for the wider church to be uprooted from false sources of identity and value and to be rooted in God’s love alone.
  • What is hindering or blocking you this morning from receiving the love of God for you. The unconditional, reckless, pursuing love of God who died for you on the cross? Where is shame? Guilt? Unconfessed sin? Blocking you from his love? What makes it hard for you to receive love in general? Invite Jesus to remove your blockages?
  • Pray for the church to experience and taste the love of God – meeting us in even our dark places…and healing us from the inside out.