I gazed out at the rolling, green hills in Lancashire in northern England, noticing the stone fences enclosing some sheep dotted around the hills. Puffy clouds moved across the bright sky, and I inhaled deeply, drinking in the sight. When I remarked about the beautiful scene to the woman working at the retreat center I was visiting, she said, “You know, I never used to notice it before our guests would point it out. We’ve lived here for years; and when we were farmers, this was just the office!”
We can easily miss the gift of what’s right in front of us, especially beauty that’s part of our everyday lives. We can also easily miss the beautiful ways God works in and around us daily. But believers in Jesus can ask God’s Spirit to open our spiritual eyes so we can understand how He’s at work, as the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian believers. Paul yearned that God would give them the wisdom and revelation to know Him better (Ephesians 1:17). He prayed that their hearts would be enlightened so that they’d know God’s hope, promised future, and power (vv. 18–19).
God’s gift of the Spirit of Christ can awaken us to His work in us and through us. With Him, what may have once seemed like “just the office” can be understood as a place that displays His light and glory.
Where do you see God at work around you? How does seeing the world through spiritual eyes help?
Paul’s prayer in the first chapter of his letter to the Ephesians (vv. 15–23) works hand-in-hand with the prayer of the third chapter (3:14–21). Together they show what it takes to sense something of the astonishing, inexpressible, and expansive purposes, power, and love of God. Both prayers remind us that growing in the immeasurable love and boundless scope of God’s plans require more than our desire and capacity to believe (1:17–19; 3:14–21). Such “knowing” is a gift and evidence of the Holy Spirit who is with us and in us. Both prayers give us reason to consciously draw near to God. And both lead us into an understanding of what it takes to prayerfully counter the strategies of our spiritual enemy—by drawing near to and relying on the Spirit (1:15–17; 6:18).