Praying for More of the Spirit’s Blessings

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Ephesians 1:17

Should Christians pray to receive the Holy Spirit as if we do not already have the Spirit? Are there times when we are without the Spirit of God, even if we belong to God through Jesus Christ?

At first glance, Ephesians 1:17 appears to answer "Yes" to these questions. Paul asks God the Father to give the Christians who received his letter "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation." So, are we to conclude that these Christians did not have the Spirit?

Though understandable, this conclusion misreads Ephesians 1:17. The original language in this verse is peculiar. It reads, translating very literally, "may give you spirit of wisdom and revelation [pneuma sophias kai apokalupseos]," not "the Spirit" but "spirit" or perhaps "a spirit." Yet, the Greek can be translated with an implied "the," as we find not only in our version (the NIV), but also in the ESV. Other contemporary translations prefer "a spirit" (CEB, NRSV). So how are we to make sense of the use of "spirit" in this verse?

From what we learn elsewhere in Ephesians about the Holy Spirit, all Christians receive and are sealed with the Spirit when they put their faith in Christ (see 1:13, 2:22, 4:30). So, Paul would not pray for the letter recipients to be given the Spirit as if for the first time. Rather, by using the word "spirit" in 1:17, he is suggesting that we, who have received the Spirit, can and should receive more of the Spirit's blessings, in particular, wisdom and revelation.

Though, as Christians, we can be assured that we have been given the gift of the Spirit, we must not be complacent. Rather, we join Paul in praying for more of the Spirit's presence and power. We pray this way because we recognize that we cannot live the Christian life on our own strength or by our own wisdom. We need God's power, through the Spirit, to help us know God more deeply and serve him more completely.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways do you need the power of God's Spirit today? Are you willing to ask God for what you need right now?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the fact that your Spirit dwells within me and among your people. Thank you for all that you give me through the Spirit.

Yet, I pray for more today. I pray for more wisdom and revelation, more mercy and compassion, more faith and discipline. I ask, glorious Father, that you give me through the Spirit what I need to serve you well today. No matter where I am or what I am doing, help me, Lord, to live for you. Amen.