When we study Ephesians 3:14-21, we can discover at least 4 biblical truths to help us pray for a breakthrough.
1. When You Pray for a Breakthrough, Humbly Base Your Prayers in the Power of the Gospel (Ephesians 3:14)
Ephesians 3:14 states, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father . . .”
Anytime you see the word “For” at the beginning of a sentence in the Bible, it means you have to look at the verses leading up to this passage to understand the justification for the actions being commanded. Paul is saying he is bowing his knees before the Father, but why?
When you look at the paragraph just before Ephesians 3:14, it is clear Paul is talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice how Ephesians 3:7 starts, “Of this gospel I was . . . .” So when we go back to Ephesians 3:14, we see that the reason Paul is bowing his knees before the Father is because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is about to launch into a massive prayer request, but before he does he makes sure his prayers are rooted in the right foundation – in Christ alone.
In other words, the only reason it is possible for God to answer your lavish request for a major breakthrough in your life is because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Jesus didn’t die, if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, and if Jesus was not sitting on the throne right now, interceding for us to the Father, your prayer request would not be possible.
So if you want your prayer for a breakthrough to be answered, you can’t base your hope for God’s “yes” in your own merit, your own prayer ability, or your own effort. We must start on our knees like Paul, in humility, basing all of our hope in Jesus alone. For as 2 Corinthians 1:20 proclaims, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus Christ]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
2. If You Want Your Prayers for a Breakthrough Answered, Believe God Can Answer This Prayer Because He Is Rich (Ephesians 3:15-16)
Ephesians 3:15-16 states, “ . . . Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being . . .”
Throughout the Bible there is a direct link between answered prayers and faith (James 1:5-8). But how can we pray with faith? Faith comes when the Holy Spirit helps us to rightly believe in the greatness of God. Your prayers are powerful when linked with faith and faith flows from knowing God as the glorious God he truly is. God’s greatness is the fuel for our faith. When you know God is great, you will be confident in him.
Notice the phrase in Ephesians 3:16, “according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened . . . .” God “grants” us blessings out of “the riches of his glory.” This means you can have faith that God can answer this prayer for a breakthrough because he is rich.
He owns everything – all resources, all power, all things belong to him! So he truly is able to answer this prayer. Not only that, it is easy for him to answer this prayer because he is so rich. When you believe that God truly is rich in glory and greatness, you will have the faith to receive what you ask for in prayer if it is God’s will to give it.
3. Pray to Be Filled with the Spirit So You Can Experience the Love of Christ, Which Is the Greatest Breakthrough of All (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Perhaps you are praying for a financial breakthrough. Perhaps you are praying for a relationship breakthrough. Perhaps you are praying for a personal breakthrough in your obedience to God and rejection of sin. Perhaps you are praying for a breakthrough for your country. Whatever breakthrough you are asking God for, to receive it you must first receive the greater blessing God wants to give you first – a deeper knowledge of Christ’s love.
This is the greatest breakthrough of all, and without first receiving this breakthrough all the other breakthroughs you are asking for will disappoint. Knowing you are loved by God is the foundation for everything else in your life. Finances, health, relationships – all of it only works properly when we first know that Christ’s love is the most important thing.
These other blessings are good, but God is much more likely to give you these other breakthroughs once you realize his love is your greatest need.
4. When Praying for a Breakthrough, Make God the Object of Your Faith. Don’t Make Your Request the Object of Your Faith (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Ephesians 3:20-21 proclaims, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
As Tim Keller put it, “It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you.” Notice that Paul’s faith is not focused on the request but on the One who is able to grant the request. When we are praying for a breakthrough, it is very easy to get so focused on the breakthrough that we start putting our faith in the thing that we want rather than in our God who is able to give us even better things than we want.
Prayer is not a time to focus on our needs. Rather, prayer is the time to focus on the one solution to all our needs – God himself. Your prayer for a breakthrough can be answered because God is able. It has nothing to do with your ability to ask. It has everything to do with who you are asking. According to Ephesians 3:20-21, we must put our faith in God alone because he is not only powerful enough to answer our prayers, he is powerful enough to do even greater things that we asked for or imagined.