For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— (ESV)
Have you ever had someone tell you that they were praying for you? I have. And most of the time that is a very comforting thought to know that someone is praying for you. But, let me ask you, have you ever had someone say that they were praying for you, but you have no idea what they are praying for or why they are praying? I think there is great value in knowing not only that you are being prayed for, but why that prayer is being offered.
In the beginning of Chapter 3 of Ephesians Paul begins to tell the church that he is going to be praying for them, but pauses to explain why. Take a look at verse 1. It starts by saying, "For this reason . . ." Now if we look at verse 14 of the same chapter he repeats that phrase:
 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (ESV)
In verse 1 Paul begins to tell them that he is praying for them, and then goes into detail as to why in verses 2-13. This prayer that he prays for the church at Ephesus, and for us, is beautiful. And we will get to that prayer in time. But, let us look today at how he describes himself, the one praying.
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Paul had been a prisoner for about two years in Caesarea, and two years in Rome. But he does not view himself as a prisoner of Rome. He is a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Paul is teaching us a very powerful lesson. God is sovereign. In his great and perfect plan for us he has us where we need to be, even if that means suffering. As Paul was in chains he penned some of the most beautiful and important passages of Scripture that we have today. He does not complain about his chains. But rather, he recognizes that he is held exactly where Christ Jesus wants him.
Our life is full of pain and struggle. God sovereignly places us where we need to be. How can you shine in the darkness? In what ways can God use you while you are in any kind of chains?