Welcome to Day 2 of our 31 Day Pray-May Challenge!
If you’ve just jumped in, we started this month-long prayer journey yesterday. You can easily catch up on Day 1 by reading this introductory post.
I really love the prayer practice I’m introducing today:
Day 2: Pray God’s Will by Praying a Prayer of Paul, on behalf of someone else.
How often do we struggle to pray God’s will for someone, wondering if what we are praying really is what God wants? By praying some of Paul’s prayers, as found throughout his Spirit-inspired writings, we can be sure that we are praying God’s will for those we love, and even those with whom we struggle.
What are some of Paul’s prayers I am referring to?
Here are some primary examples.
- Ephesians 1:17-19a “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.” (NIV)
- Ephesians 3:16-19 “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.” (NIV)
- Philippians 1:4-6, 9-11 “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.” (9-11) “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.” (NIV)
- Colossians 1:9-12 “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.” (NIV)
You can also pray some of Paul’s benedictory prayers, which are short but powerful.
- 2 Corinthians 13:14: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (NIV)
- Galatians 6:18: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (NIV)
Okay, so what do pray these prayers?
- FIRST, CHOOSE THE PRAYER: We take one of these prayers, and we start by reading it through a few more times. If it’s longer, you may need to take a little time for this. The shorter ones, you’ll likely memorize within minutes.
- THEN, PRAY THE PRAYER: After reading your chosen prayer through, begin to pray it for a person in your life–it could be your spouse, a dear friend, or someone with whom you’ve been having a conflict. By “praying” it, I mean that you take this prayer of Paul and apply it, changing the words so that it directly references the person for whom you are praying. So, for example from Ephesians 3, “Lord Jesus, I pray that ____ 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 for them, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” At first, it may feel like you are simply reading it with that person in mind–that’s great! And powerful. But as you keep doing it, it will begin to become your own prayer more and more.
- And then, let the PRAYER EXPAND: let the Holy Spirit take that prayer deeper into your own heart and mind, as you pray it for the person you have in mind. As you do, you may begin to take snatches of one prayer, say from Ephesians 1 and then mash it up with part of another prayer from Colossians 1. As you take these words in, you will find that they begin to blend together in a holy way, forming into beautiful prayer on behalf of someone else. And the Holy Spirit will lead you to pray for this person in ways you had not first considered, expanding upon his original prayer through Paul and joining it to your own prayer.
That’s your challenge for today, Day 2. Take a prayer of Paul and pray it for someone.
And as you do, know this: you are praying the God-breathed Word–God’s own revealed will–on behalf of someone else. It’s rare that we can pray with such confidence, knowing that what we are praying really IS what God wants, 100%. So pray without reservation as you pray God’s amazing, transforming will for someone else.
As you do, I’m praying for you! I pray that your love, dear reader, may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, even as you pray, and that you 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)
Thanks for praying! Come back tomorrow for Day 3!!