I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 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. Eph. 3:17-21

Heavenly Father, as we read these words crafted for the church in Ephesus, we’re more grateful than ever that you have rooted and established us in your love. You have planted our roots deep in the fathomless depths of your measureless, unwavering, transforming love. Our eternal health and fruitfulness are not in doubt. We will flourish and thrive forever. The gates of hell will not overcome the growth, forward movement and destiny of your beloved people (Matt. 16:18).

However, until the Day when you make us perfect in love, so much can happen to us and among us as your people. Satan hates the church, and really good churches can fall into really big messes; and really committed believers can forget the gospel and do seriously foolish and hurtful things.

Only the love of Jesus can win the day. Thus, Paul’s prayer will be relevant right up till Jesus’ second coming. What but a bigger and better grasp of the love of Jesus can keep us focused on the things that really matter, and repentant for the ways we fail one another?

Father, it’s sobering to realize that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians wasn’t the only time the churches of Ephesus were addressed about love. Many years later Jesus spoke these words to the same churches, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev 2:4-5).

I’m glad you can do so immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, but we will settle today for what we can ask and for what we can imagine. We ask you to restore us to our first love relationship with Jesus. And we ask you for power—for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit that will grant us a greater grasp of the width, length, height and depth of Jesus’ love.

May the love of Jesus humble us, gentle us and gladden us. We can imagine this, Father, and we do ask for it—that your glory will be revealed in the church and throughout all generations. So very Amen we earnestly and passionately pray, in Jesus’ beloved name.