The Two Greatest Prayers of the Apostle Paul, by Witness Lee


Paul also prays that we would be strengthened with power “through His Spirit” (Eph. 3:16). This power is one with the Spirit. You can never separate the power from God the Spirit. Strictly speaking, God’s Spirit is this power. We need to be strengthened with this power through His Spirit in our spirit. Here Paul adds the phrase, “into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man. This word “into” indicates transmission. You are receiving the divine transmission of this fourfold power, the resurrection power, transcending power, subduing power, and overruling power. In chapter one, this power was toward us, but in chapter three, the strengthening is with this power into our spirit, into our inner man. This power for the strengthening is not only within us but also in the heavens being transmitted into us. With electricity, when you turn the switch off, the flow stops. When the electrical switch is on, the current of electricity is flowing. This current is not only in the building. It is also being transmitted into the building. God’s power is not only something within us, but also something in the heavens being transmitted into us. The strengthening, strictly speaking, does not originate from within us; it comes from the heavens, from the throne, and is being transmitted into us. This strengthening is something living, transmitting, and flowing. Many times we have the feeling that there is something within us strengthening us. With this strengthening, there is the flowing of the Spirit within us. Something is being transmitted and imparted into us by this flowing. This is the strengthening with power through His Spirit into the inner man.


The issue of this strengthening is “that Christ may make His home in your hearts” (v. 17). Not only is Christ in our spirit, but also, as a person, He must inhabit our whole inward being, our heart. The heart is composed of the three parts of the soul—the mind (Matt. 9:4; Heb. 4:12), the emotion (John 16:6, 22), and the will (Acts 11:23; Heb. 4:12)—plus the conscience (Heb. 10:22; 1 John 3:20), a part of the spirit. The heart includes all our inward parts. This means that when we are strengthened into our inner man, Christ will take over our entire inward being. When we are strengthened into our inner man, into our spirit, it will be easy for Christ as the indwelling Spirit to saturate every inward part of our being. It will be easy for Christ as the indwelling Spirit to take over our mind, our emotion, and our will. Then Christ can settle down in our being, making His home in our hearts.

Christ is in us, but He may not be settled in us. If I come to your home as a guest, I am in your home, but I am not settled there. I can only go where you would allow me. I have seen your home, but I have not made my home there. In the same way, Christ is in us, but not settled in us. This is because our inner man has not been strengthened. Our inner man needs to be strengthened with the fourfold power. If all our deadness has been swallowed up, if all the rebellious factors have been conquered, if all the troublesome things have been subdued, and if we exercise the overruling power, we will be so strong in our spirit, in our inner man. Then our whole being will be opened up to Christ as the indwelling Spirit, making it easy for Him to get into our mind, emotion, and will, into our every inward part, to take possession of all our being. He will be able to make His home in our hearts. The church life comes out of Christ making His home in our hearts.


After the strengthening of the inner man and Christ’s making His home in our hearts, there is a third item: “That you may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). When our inner man is strengthened, there is a free way for Christ to take full possession of our entire being, making His home in our hearts. God in the Son, as the life-giving Spirit, will take over and possess our whole being, making us one with God. Then we will be filled, not with doctrines or knowledge, but with the riches of Christ unto all the fullness of God. All this fullness dwells in Christ (Col. 1:19; 2:9). Through His indwelling, Christ imparts the fullness of God into our being. Eventually, whatever God is in His fullness will be our content. We are becoming a people filled up with the Triune God and saturated with the riches of Christ unto all the fullness of God. This is the issue of the transmission of God’s power, and this is the reality of the church life.


Then Paul says, “But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us” (Eph. 3:20). Again, this power is the power in 1:19. It is the power that accomplishes the spiritual things for the church within our inward being. The word “operates” in this verse refers to the inward energizing of this power. If you mean business with the Lord, if you are desperate, something within will be energizing you, but if you are indifferent, the power within you will not operate. If you are indifferent toward the meetings and if you are indifferent toward your lack of fruit, how can this power within you operate to energize you? But if you pray to the Lord in a desperate way, you will immediately experience the inner energizing. God is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, but He is able only according to the power that is operating in us. How much this power can operate to energize us depends upon how desperate we are. We all have this power within us. With some it really works, but with others it does not work. This is because some are desperate and others are indifferent. The secret to the operation of this power is that we need to be desperate. God needs our human cooperation. If we do not cooperate with Him, He can do nothing. May the Lord be merciful to us that, from now on, we would be desperate. We need to have the deep feeling that we cannot go on being an indifferent Christian. We must consider this a matter of life and death. If we become desperate, we will have the realization that something within is energizing us and that something from the heavens is constantly being transmitted into our being. Then there will be glory to Him in the church (v. 21). Today there is not much glory to the Lord in the church because of our indifference. We all have to realize our need for the inner operating, the energizing, of this power for the strengthening of our inner man.

May we never forget these two prayers in the book of Ephesians. We need a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may see the church, and we need our inner man to be strengthened that we may live and experience all that we have seen. The revelation of the church and the experience of Christ for the church issue in the genuine church life.

(The Two Greatest Prayers of the Apostle Paul, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)