…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…
What do you pray for?
For many the Christian discipline of prayer is perhaps one of the hardest, which is why many books have been written on the subject! The reality is sometimes it’s easier than others.
Often as believers we say, “I’ll pray for you” usually in response to a request or a situation. What happens however when you are looking at your church diary and because you are in a fairly big church you don’t really know them all? Or you are asked to pray for someone in a prayer meeting and it suddenly hits you, what do I pray for? Or you are asked, ‘How can I pray for you?’ and the reality is life is fairly boring and there is no specific need!
I don’t know whether you are the sort of person who does a study on a theme within the Bible in your own personal devotions? Recently I have been reconsidering how Paul prays for the believers.
Depending on how you count, i.e actual prayers or things he prays for, there are around 42 prayers of Paul we can look at. A large proportion of them relate to the spiritual well-being of those he writes to.
This does not preclude specific needs, and indeed in Philippians 4:7 we are encouraged to do just that. Paul himself does on occasions present a specific need e.g. “that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea” (Romans 15:31), and there is Paul’s famous thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians).
However here are just some of the other things Paul prays for the believers, whether we know people well or not at all may they help us in our prayers ‘for the saints’:
- “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12)
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
- “… 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 (Ephesians 1:17-19)
- “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.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
- “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.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
Tirzah Jones is a member at Malpas Road Evangelical Church, Newport.