The prayers of Paul the apostle who was chosen by the Lord Jesus to teach and preach His gospel to Jews and non-Jews in the early days of Christianity hold great insight for us.
Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament, handing down to us the things which Christ charged him to pass on. He was able to say at the end of his life that he had finished his assignment and successfully run the course Jesus marked out for him.
What can we learn from the way Paul prayed?
First, Paul always gave thanks, praise and worship to God. He lived a life of gratitude. He thanked God ALWAYS and expressed gratitude for all His wonderful works, including the salvation of souls. Several times, he tells us to give thanks to God not just in good times but in everything. He encouraged in Colossians 4:2, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
Paul was conscious of God’s power. He prayed for the Ephesian church to know the unlimited greatness of God’s power as it works with might and strength for us, the believers; the same power He worked with in Christ when He brought him back to life. He closed his prayer in Ephesians 3 by declaring, “Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.”
Interestingly, you rarely found him asking for “things”. Rather, operating in the knowledge that “all things are yours” he prayed for LIGHT so that God’s people may KNOW the things that they ALREADY HAVE. “Flood the eyes of our hearts with light so that we can understand…” is a prayer we can learn from Ephesians 1:8. Paul was conscious of the fact that having Christ meant having everything that pertains to life and godliness, so he could confidently declare, “My God shall supply all your need.” (Philippians 4:19).
In prayer, Paul asked God for strength and wisdom. He also prayed for love, which is the mark of every true believer in God who is Himself love. Jesus Himself said, “By this shall men know that you are my disciples, when you love one another.” Paul asked God “…that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” He also prayed “that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is. You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.”
Ultimately, Paul prayed that God’s will be done, that people be drawn to Christ, and that Christians be filled with God Himself.
Praying the Word is one of the most effective ways to pray, and the Pauline prayers are a great place to start: Ephesians 1:17-21, Ephesians 3:16-20, Colossians 4:12, I Thessalonians 5: 17, 23, Philippians 1:8-11, Colossians 1:3, 9-11, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, amongst others.