What does the Apostle Paul mean when he tells the believer to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)? There are two important things to know about this instruction.

  1. The word “filled” means to be controlled. Instead of being controlled by a substance like wine (Eph. 5:18a) be controlled by the Spirit who indwells you as a believer.
  2. Being controlled by the Spirit is not one-and-done. It is an ongoing prayer of the believer.

One writer puts it like this:

[Being filled with the Spirit] is not some high-and-mighty, once-in-a-lifetime moment where you experience the fullness of the Spirit and from then on you are on an all-time high that never wanes. Instead, we are regularly to pray, “Fill me, Lord, for the moment…fill me in this hour…fill me as I’m facing the challenge.”

Here’s a prayer I’ve written and use to ask God for His control of my life:

Father, this is your day on loan to me and I want to be used by you for eternal and lasting purposes. I submit myself, my plans, my activities, and my interactions with others to you. I thank you that I have been baptized and sealed by your Spirit. I thank you that your Spirit indwells me. Now I ask that your Spirit control every aspect of my life. Take control of my tongue that my words will reflect your love and grace. Take control of my emotions that I may respond obediently and calmly, Take control of my thoughts, that my mind may be quickly cleaned of those things that will not honor you and be full of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. Control my actions in such a way that others will see my deeds and know that they have been influenced by you. Give me the strength to live this day in a way that pleases you. I submit myself to your control in Christ’s name. Amen.

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