Garry continued his series looking at the prayers of the apostle Paul by focusing on Eph 1:17-20 where Paul prays for God to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know Him better. Wisdom is obviously important in life as the book of Proverbs makes clear; the words of the wise ‘prod us to live well… like nails hammered home, holding life together.’ (Eccl 12:11, The Message.) We all need to live as wise not unwise (Eph 5:15-16), but wisdom is more than mere knowledge. In John 4:35, Jesus talks about opening our eyes to see the fields ripe for harvest; this is knowledge, but wisdom is recognising that we must harvest now as a result of this situation.

James talks about different sources of wisdom and the difference between heavenly and earthly wisdom. (James 3:13-17)  Wisdom starts with a right fear of the Lord (Ps 111:10), where we put God first, trust His word and rely on His Spirit. Natural wisdom obviously has its limitations, since it neglects the spiritual dimension.There is also a demonic source of wisdom which is completely opposite to God’s ways. We learn spiritual wisdom by meditating on God’s words (Ps 119:97-99, 2 Tim 3:14-15). God HImself gives wisdom at times (see 1 Cor 12:7-8, James 1:5-6).

The spirit of revelation which Paul prays for has a substantial crossover with wisdom. God reveals HImself (see Gen 35:7, 1 Sam 3:21, Is 65:1) and makes known His ways to us (see Matt 11:25). Paul believes that this revelation will lead us to know God better; an ever-deepening knowledge of God is what we all need (see Phil 3:10).Natural knowledge and revelation are useful, but often, God speaks to us to show us things that we could not know without divine revelation (as happened to Joseph when interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, for example.) Words of knowledge are this kind of revelation (1 Cor 12:7-8) which we see frequently in the Bible (Dan 2:18-19, Amos 3:6-7). Paul prayed for the Ephesians to receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they could live better, more effective lives. This same Spirit is available for us too to give wisdom and revelation/ knowledge so that we know God better, experience more of Him at work in us and so we can be aware of what He is doing.