Today I’m excited to have Danielle from Free Indeed here to share about praying like Paul. The focus of Paul’s prayers might surprise you!
“Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 is a short verse many of us have put to memory and yearn to practice. What makes it even more incredible is that the person who wrote it did practice it, and that person was the Apostle Paul.
Prayer was no little thing to him; it appeared as natural to him as breathing. It seems when he wasn’t preaching, he was praying. He addresses prayer 45 times in his biblical epistles to the early church, and most of those verses share his passionate pleas to God on their behalf.
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)
If we’re looking for a model for prayer, after Jesus we truly have to look no further than Paul. If we study even a few of his written prayers, we see a pattern we may not expect.
The Focus of Paul’s Prayers.
Rather than asking for the believers’ physical, financial, or protective needs, Paul primarily prays for their faith to be enriched. He devotedly pours out his heart before the Lord for the saints, asking that they worship Him and follow Him with genuine understanding and love.
While he does encourage his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ to pray to God “in everything” to allay their anxieties (Philippians 4:8), he himself prioritizes petitions for their knowledge and trust in Jesus to grow and tells them this in his heartfelt letters.
Below I have selected 5 prayers of Paul we can pray nearly word for word for our family and church family. Under each, I’ve also included some sample paraphrased versions of my own. My hope is that you can write Paul’s prayers down in your journal or place these verses in your prayer closet as inspiration.
Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 (ESV)
Praying Scripture is one of the best ways we can abide in His Word and walk in His will!
5 Prayers of Paul for Your War Room
1. Ephesians 1:16-20 (ESV)
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…”
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please enable [person] by your Spirit to know you more deeply, enlightening their heart to your glory, that they may grasp the incredible hope they have in You. May you also reveal to them the beauty of the church you are building for Yourself, that they may serve within it faithfully. Lord, I ask that this greater knowledge of who you are would remind them that the same power that You used to raise Christ from the dead resides in them, giving them the desire and confidence to do Your will for their lives.
2. Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
PRAYER: Father, I pray that out of your abundant glory and Your Spirit you would strengthen [person] in the faith and in Christ. Help [person] to comprehend the magnificent extent of Christ’s love and be filled with Him.
3. Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV)
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Note: This is a great one to pray word for word!
PRAYER: Lord, please increase [person’s] love and discernment more and more so that he\she may know what is good in Your sight, walk in righteousness, and bear fruit that glorifies You.
4. Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
PRAYER: Father, grant [person] knowledge of Your will through the knowledge of Your Word, that he\she may please You, glorify You, and know You in all that they do. Strengthen him\her according to your glorious might, that they may endure their current difficulties with patience and joy and thankfulness in You. Remind them of the amazing inheritance they have in Christ.
5. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (ESV)
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
PRAYER: Father, please fulfill every good work you place upon [person’s] heart, so that Jesus may be glorified in him\her and he\she may be glorified in Him.
Overflowing with thankfulness and faith-strengthening theology, Paul’s prayers can greatly motivate us. As we offer them up for others and even ourselves, we will see God build up His church in Christ in amazing ways.
Danielle is an Ivy-Leaguer turned homemaker inspired by God’s endless grace. As a young wife and mommy, she’s eager to share how freedom and truth beautifully come together in Jesus in the everyday and extraordinary. Her blog, Free Indeed, aims to give women hope from God’s Word that refreshes their hearts to serve Christ faithfully.