Read the passage with the notes
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
3:1-6 Paul explains that God has given him insight into the mystery of Christ and the responsibility of sharing that insight. That mystery is that Gentiles can be part of the body of Christ. We take it for granted that we’re not Jews yet still children of God and equal heirs. This is mysterious because we don’t deserve God’s grace.
3:7-9 Paul explains that God has given him the responsibility of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, even though he feels that he’s unworthy of the calling because he’s “less than the least of all God’s people”. So a person unworthy of God’s grace is called to minister to others who are unworthy of God’s grace. When we feel unworthy of something God has given us to do it may be because He wants us to minister to others who struggle with feelings of unworthiness.
3:10-16 Paul urges the Ephesians not to mourn his current state, but to understand his present sufferings are for the glory of God. Praying on one’s knees was that the common posture so Paul was emphasizing his fervent prayer for the people.
3:17-19 The mystery of Christ is a mystery because we’ll never fully understand why God deals with humans the way He does. The mystery is that Gentiles are allowed into God’s family even though we don’t deserve it. But if we don’t deserve God’s grace, why does He give it to us in the first place? Because He loves us. This may be why Paul ends his prayer in this section by asking that the Ephesians would be able to grasp the immeasurable depths of God’s love. This is not just a prayer to understand, but a prayer to do. If we are united in one single family, we need to treat each other as such.