Using Paul’s Prayers to Guide Our Own
Since the Apostle Paul gave us the majority of the New Testament epistles, we can learn a lot from his teachings on prayer. He exhorts us to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and present our requests to God in everything we go through (Philippians 4:6-7). If these are his views on prayer, it is natural to find prayers throughout his writings. In fact, he tells us to imitate him as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Therefore, what let’s look at what we can learn from his prayers.
My first observation when looking at the prayers of Paul is it is not always clear where his teachings stop and his prayers begin. They intertwine seamlessly. For instance, as we read the beginning of Ephesians, we find an awe-inspiring description of God and who He is towards us. Paul starts by declaring praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It would be natural to assume we are listening in to one of his prayers. While this may be correct, he transitions into deep theological truths that many of us have memorized to deepen our faith. For this discussion, I have looked at over forty of his prayers found in the Bible. Here are three things I have learned from Paul’s prayers:
1. Paul Worships God
Paul was amazed by who God was and what He had done for him. While Paul was sharing what God was like, worship was the natural overflow. He would praise God for his comfort, power, provision, and protection. He would praise Him for who He is and what He has done. The more we get to know God, the more we want to express our praise to Him. It is what we have been created for and when we live for Him, our lives will also be poured in praise.
2. Paul Prays for Other Believers
It might be because these are letters to people, but Paul’s epistles are full of how he is praying for them. He lets us know he is thanking God for them. Other believers gave Paul great joy, and it led him to thanksgiving. He asks God to be able to see them again and for their growth and knowledge of God. More than anything else, Paul asks God for His grace on them.
3. Paul Prays for Himself
Finally, Paul also asks for others to pray for him. Specifically he asked for prayers of safety and the effectiveness of his ministry. Paul was a man driven with passion for the Gospel. Many people responded to his message, but there was also a violent group that hated what he was doing. These two requests are natural extrapolation of what mattered to Paul. You may want prayers for the same things, but you may want prayers for your kids, health, work, or any other passion God has given you.
If you want to read more on Paul's prayers, check out Praying With Paul by D.A. Carson.
Saul was always a praying man.
Paul connected with God.
Do we know the difference?
A Complete List of the Apostle Paul’s Prayers in the Bible
- To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 1:7
- First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. – Romans 1:8–10
- Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. – Romans 10:1
- May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5–6
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
- I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. – Romans 15:30–33
- The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. – Romans 16:20
- I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:4–9
- The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. – 1 Corinthians 16:23
- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3–7
- Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. – 2 Corinthians 13:7–9
- May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen. – Galatians 6:18
- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – Ephesians 1:3
- For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. – Ephesians 1:15–19
- For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14–19
- 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20–21
- Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. – Ephesians 6:19–20
- I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:3–6
- And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may 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
- The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. – Philippians 4:23
- We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – Colossians 1:3–4
- For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. – Colossians 1:9–12
- Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. – Colossians 4:2–4
- We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2–3
- How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. – 1 Thessalonians 3:9–10
- Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. – 1 Thessalonians 3:11–13
- May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:28
- We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. – 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
- With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this 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. – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
- May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17
- And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:2–5
- Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. – 2 Thessalonians 3:18
- I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. – 1 Timothy 1:12
- I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
- I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. – 2 Timothy 1:3–4
- May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. – 2 Timothy 1:16–18
- The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all. – 2 Timothy 4:22
- Grace be with you all. – Titus 3:15
- I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. – Philemon 4–6
- The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. – Philemon 25