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Prayers of Paul – An Illuminated Understanding – Part 3

Continuing our study on the prayers of Paul we find ourselves still in Ephesians 1. In the last article we learned about the true knowledge of God that Paul prayed we would have. Now we find Paul praying for light to flood into the deepest parts of the way we think. Let dive on in.

the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Eph 1:18) Now see it in The Passion Translation:

I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling[v]—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!”

Paul was praying for the believer’s “understanding” to be enlightened. The Greek word for understanding is dianoia and means “the mind, understanding, way of thinking.” The word is strong and means the way one thinks, perceives things. It can be called one’s frame of mind. Ed Corely, a wonderful Bible teacher, has written extensively on this word (and much on Ephesians!) and had this to say about the meaning of the word.

DIANOIA is a word from the Greek New Testament sometimes translated mind, sometimes understanding. It’s one of several words used there to describe the workings of the mind. In particular, it describes it as it draws conclusions about right and wrong, and as it makes distinctions and forms opinions. It is the mind as it is designed to have insight and comprehension. It is from an enlightened dianoia that a person can say, “Oh, now I understand! Now I see!”

Our dianoia, prior to becoming born again, is darkened. It all started when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They chose to have their understanding darkened. Eph 4:18 gives us a glimpse into this.

“having their understanding (dianoia) darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”

Its important to understand that when one becomes born again their understanding isn’t automatically filled with light. Darkness is still present. Otherwise, Paul would have not felt a great need to pray along these lines. Yes, we agree with Paul and pray for the illumination of our understanding. We praying this illumination for family, friends, leaders.

There is a wonderful passage regarding our dianoia found in Hebrews.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind (dianoia) and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Hebrews 8:10)

No longer do we need to strive to keep the laws of God. God has put them in our mind. He has placed them at the seat of how we think and perceive things.

Paul prayed that our understanding would be “enlightened.” The Greek word is phōtizō and means “to give light, illuminate.” We get our word photograph from it. The first photograph ever taken was in the 1820’s by a man named Nicéphore Niépce in a commune of all places. The image took 8 hours to draw in enough light to etch an image that is called View from the Window at Le Gras. And by the way the word photo+graph comes from two words photo “light” and graph “something written.”

We are asking the light of God to flood the dianoia of our loved ones. We are asking for a permeant image to be etched into the deepest parts of our understanding. And we know from John 1:9 that this illuminating light is not some obscure outside force. It is Jesus Himself. He is the Light.

That was the true Light which gives light (phōtizō) to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9)

In the next article we will learn what this light illuminates – hope, the value of the saints and the power that is toward those who believe.

Father, we thank you for Jesus the Illuminator of our understanding. We ask that your light would flood with light the understanding of our loved ones. Flood us as well. Pierce past the darkness that has dimmed our understanding. We ask You to reach to the deepest places of the way we think. Shine Your light in Jesus’ name.

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