14 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,” (Ephesians 3:14–15 (ESV)
Paul finally comes to his personal prayer on behalf of the Ephesian church in today’s text. It was a prayer which originally began in 3:1: “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles.”
Following his extended parenthesis, Paul begins his prayer anew. He begins it with the same words found in 3:1: “For this reason.” This phrase points the readers back to all which the apostle spoke of in Ephesians 2:11-22 concerning Jews and Gentiles being one in Christ. It was because of this truth concerning the unity in the church between believers of all nationalities that Paul was led to pray on the Ephesians’ behalf.
“I bow my knees” is a common expression for prayer. While Jews normally prayed standing (Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:11-13), kneeling in prayer pictured one’s humility before God (Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:59).
Paul’s prayer is directed to God the Father. This also parallels Jesus’ instruction for prayer found in Matthew 6:5-15. It should be noted that it is only in the New Testament that believers address God as their heavenly Father. This pictures the intimate relationship existing between Christians and God because of the finished work of Christ.
Paul then evoked the biblical truth that all believers find this intimate existence before God because of Christ. Paul was not teaching the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man (cf. John 8:39–42; 1 John 3:10). Rather, he was referring to believers from every era of history. This included those who are physically dead and are living in heaven and those who are physically alive and are living on earth. All of us call God our heavenly Father.
Nineteenth century biblical theologian Charles Hodge writes, “It is because He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our incarnate God and Savior, that He is our Father and accessible to us in prayer. We can approach Him acceptably in no other character than as the God who sent the Lord Jesus to be our propitiation and mediator. It is therefore by faith in Him as reconciled, that we address Him as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Have a blessed day in the Lord and before the Father.
Soli deo Gloria!