If you were asked, “How can I pray for you?” What would be your answer? Would you ask for prayer for your health, finances, comfort? How about knowledge, specifically knowledge of God? This was Paul's prayer for the Church in Ephesus. In fact, it was his unceasing prayer for the Church. Of all things that the Ephesians needed, Paul asks God that He would give them knowledge about Him. Why? What good is it to know God, and why would it be preeminently important?
To answer this question, we must ask another. What is the purpose of life? Why do we exist? Why did God create us? Many of you would answer that God created you to be happy. This is somewhat right, but only secondarily. Happiness is an effect. We must find the cause. The answer to our question is found in the verses at the beginning of the letter to the Ephesians.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:3-6
Why did God create us? What was in His mind before the foundation of the world? The praise of his glorious grace. To use a Jonathan Edwards title this is “the end for which God created the World.” The reason we exist is to glorify God. God wanted to display and share His Glory. And where do we find the greatest display and the ability to share in His Glory. We find it at Calvary, the place where the Son of God, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature”, dies for wretched sinners deserving of Hell. It is the collision of infinite Holiness and total depravity, and it is brilliant.
The grace of God that is bestowed upon us through the blood of Jesus is paradigm shifting for those who place their faith in Christ (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9). Seeing the overwhelming beauty of Christ causes us to lay down all things so that our arms are free to embrace Him.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” – Matthew 13:44
When we have eyes to see Christ and his unsearchable riches towards us, sinners, He becomes the gravitational force that re-orients our lives around His preeminent worth. We see things in the light of God’s glory and respond by joyfully laying down all lesser goods so we can have the greatest treasure in the Universe, Jesus our King.
So to come full circle, why pray for the knowledge of Him? Because the greater knowledge of God produces a greater praise of His Glorious Grace and a greater joy in your life.