Eph.3:16,17 – That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…
This is an unusual beginning to Paul’s prayer. If you do not pay close attention you may just miss what Paul is saying. Is he saying that I must be strengthened supernaturally just so I can be filled? That is exactly what Paul is saying. Remember he is writing to Christians familiar with outpourings of the Spirit. It had been just a couple of years since Paul had daily meetings for two years in Ephesus. These meetings were characterized by unusual signs, wonders, and miracles. Apparently at the time this letter was written the fire wasn’t burning as hot as it had been. Even for these “Pentecostal” Christians there needed to be a supernatural preparation to receive what Paul was describing. You could say they needed to be filled so that they could be filled. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this verse.
“The essence and substance of this prayer is, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God….so fully that we shall “know the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of His measureless love. Now for this the Holy Ghost has to strengthen us and prepare us. In our ordinary condition, we could not stand the glory and power of such a blessing. It would be like putting a charge of powder that would fill a cannon into a pocket pistol, and the only effect would be the explosion and destruction of the pistol. If God were to give us all the power for which we sometimes ask him, it would destroy us. We should be so lifted up with self-consciousness and self-importance that we should be ruined, or else we should be crushed by the weight of glory. Therefore, He prays, first, that we may be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in the heart by faith.”
I guess I can relate to this. In the outpouring that effected my life in 1994 I sat in meetings for several days and received a tangible, felt anointing on my life. The next week I went back and received quite a download. I guess you could say I had been filled so that I could continue to be filled. The overwhelming majority of the church is in this category. There needs to be an infilling just to get ready for what the Lord has planned. I think we are getting ready for a major download of His power.