Pray Like the Apostle Paul
- Thursday, August 19, 2004
Does your prayer life seem dry or shallow? Do you struggle to pray more than just simple "Bless the people I love" types of prayers?
If so, the ancient prayers of the Apostle Paul can help you. This great saint was so connected to God that He used Paul to write many of the New Testament books. By studying Paul's prayers and making them your own, you can develop intimacy with God that will enliven you. Then you'll not only know how to pray, but you'll want to pray.
Here are some ways you can pray like the Apostle Paul:
Pray for discernment. Use Philippians 1:9-11 as your model for this prayer. Pray for the wisdom to choose God's best for you. Ask God to give you so much love that it overflows, even when you're dealing with difficult people. Seek the insights you need to deal effectively with stress and make wise choices under pressure. Strive to bring glory to God through all you do, so that others clearly recognize His work in your life.
Pray for knowledge. Use Colossians 1:9-14 as your model for this prayer. Pray that you will be filled with the knowledge of God's will so you'll know what He wants you to do and are motivated to do it. Ask God to help you align your desires with His so you'll want what He wants. Ask for the grace to be able to live a faithful life that pleases God, staying strong even when hard times come. Thank God for His work in your life, and especially for your salvation.
Pray for enlightenment. Use Ephesians 1:15-23 as your model for this prayer. Pray that God will open your eyes so you can see things from His perspective. Ask God to help you know and be thankful for all He has given you and promised you. Ask Him to help you make Christ the center of your life.
Pray for power. Use Ephesians 3:14-21 as your model for this prayer. Pray for spiritual strength to do the work God calls you to do. Ask Him to help you follow where He leads. Ask God to enable you to perform your daily tasks with joy, resist temptation with courage, and endure persecution gladly. Have faith that the smallest, most simple prayer offered in faith will yield tremendous results because God is infinitely big and He rewards genuine faith. Take your focus off your circumstances and place it on God. Remember that God's power is unlimited, and nothing is impossible with Him. Know that God's dreams for you are bigger than your own dreams. Thank God for His great love and provision for you. Seek to honor and glorify Christ in all areas of your life.
Pray for endurance. Use 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 as your model for this prayer. Pray that God will help you hang tough for Christ no matter how hard your life becomes. Ask God to make you living proof of His power to others who observe your life. Ask Him to give you goals that center on Him and fulfill His purposes. Ask God to give you the grace to accomplish His goals for your life. Strive to glorify Christ in all you do, and look forward to sharing in His ultimate victory. Keep eternity in mind as you live in our temporary, fallen world. Embrace the values that will last forever.
Pray for stability. Use 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 as your model for this prayer. Know that God loved you, chose you, and called you. Thank Him that you believed the gospel and get to share in Christ's glory. Since God has saved you, stand fast in life's trials, trusting that God will encourage you and strengthen you so your life will be filled with good words and deeds. Commit all you are and all you have into God's hands.
Keep your nine core needs in mind. As you pray, remember the nine needs Paul highlights and ask God to meet those needs in your life. The needs are: to know God better, a new appreciation of God's power to help you, the ability to make wise choices under pressure, a genuine love for others, strength to endure to so you won't give up, a willingness to trust God for the impossible, a life pleasing to Christ, growing thankfulness to God, and cheerfulness in the midst of your trials.
Adapted from "Beyond All You Could Ask or Think: How to Pray Like the Apostle Paul," copyright 2004 by Ray Pritchard. Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill., www.moodypublishers.org.
Ray Pritchard (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary, D. Min., Talbot School of Theology) has been senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois, since 1989. He and his wife, Marlene, have raised three sons. Dr. Pritchard is the author of more than 20 books, including Keep Believing, The ABC's of Wisdom, and An Anchor for the Soul.
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