Picture if you will, the position of Paul at the time of this writing. He is in prison. He does not know the out come of that imprisonment. He is to appear before Caesar and what the result will be is not known. And the major thought on his mind was the encouragement of the Christians in Ephesus. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the same view.... to encourage rather than discourage.
The King James Version uses the word “faint”, “That ye faint not.” The original word means to “do evil, draw or shrink back in battle, be weary or lose courage.” They could easily have become discouraged when they thought of what Paul had endured and it could possibly happen to them. Paul knew this. And so his whole purpose is to encourage, strength them. Don’t stumble, don’t turn back.
His prayer was for their continued growth in Christ. Remember the object of prayer is God. God the Father! As a Christian we have the opportunity, the freedom to approach God in prayer. That opportunity is the key thought of Christianity. Under the Old Testament God was inaccessible. He dwelt in the Holy of Holies and only the High Priest could enter there one day a year. The average person could never enter there. The whole family of God is named by the Father. We did not dream up that name. It was revealed from Heaven.
The thing that is needed to face the difficult times of life is strength from above. Paul prayed that they “might be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” The inner man is that non-material part of our being, our spirit, conscience, mind. and emotions. Romans 7:22 uses the same term to describe that spiritual part of man that delights in God’s law, contrasted to that fleshly side of man that craves sin.
The contrast is again made in 1 Corinthians 4:16 “Though our outward man (phyical body) perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
How much more important it is that our inward man be strong. Christ dwells in us through the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-18, 23; Our faith is the entrance through which Christ enters.
1 Corinthians 4:16
John 14:16-18; 23.