Prayer is very
important to God. Many have taught about what prayer is and how
prayers ought to be offered to God. Some have looked at the
prayers of men and women in the Old Testament. Some have reviewed
the prayers of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Some have taught that the example of prayer
offered by Jesus Christ to his Judean followers ought to be "the
prayer" offered by his followers today. Some have looked at the prayers of the Book of
Acts. Some have examined the prayers in the Epistles. Some have
even developed "formulas" for prayer.
When it comes to believing the Word of God, that which is addressed TO US must be applied BY US. All other scripture is for our learning and can be applied IN LIGHT OF that which is addressed to us. That which Jesus Christ taught prior to his sacrifice for sins and the giving of holy spirit is of necessity void of that which became ours on the day of Pentecost. As sons and daughters of God with holy spirit our prayers ought to be offered to our Heavenly Father in light of all that was accomplished by His son Jesus Christ. We have been given remission of sins. We have been made righteous in Christ Jesus. All of our needs are supplied according to God's riches in glory by Christ Jesus. We have been rescued from the power of darkness and we have been made citizens in God's Kingdom by the work of His beloved son. To ask God for His Kingdom to come, to ask Him to deliver us from evil, to seek forgiveness based on our forgiveness of others, and to pray for God to supply our daily bread is to ignore that which God has already freely given to us in Christ Jesus. So what do the Epistles written to us say about prayer?
"formula" in the Epistles:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Prayer is pouring out your
soul. Supplication is making a request for others.
Prayer is to be with thanksgiving. Prayer is to let your requests be made known unto God.
Epistles tell us to pray often:
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
. . . continuing instant in prayer;
Continue in prayer, . . .
The Epistles tell us to pray
Likewise the Sprit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
1 Corinthians 14:14-15a
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: . . .
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, . . .
The Epistles show how leaders pray for
the believers to whom they are ministering:
. . . that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
. . . do not cease to pray for you, . . .
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, . . .
1 Thessalonians 1:2
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
These leaders prayed "without ceasing,
always", "gave thanks for the believers", and "made request for
The Epistles show how believers are to pray for those ministering to them:
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Finally brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
1 Thessalonians 5:25
Brethren, pray for us.
Withal praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also an ambassador in bonds:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
2 Corinthians 1:11a
Ye also helping together by prayer for us, . . .
Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
The context of these prayers are
that the believers are praying in order to help men of God move the
word of God: "that the word of the Lord may have free course . .
. that I may make known the mystery of the gospel." We help each
other move God's Word when we include requests for the movement of His
Word and for the men and women speaking it in our prayers.
are some of the requests made in prayer in the Epistles:
Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
2 Corinthians 1:11
. . . that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him . . .
. . . watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints . . . that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now . . .
. . . that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; That I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.
. . . that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the sight of God and our Father;
1 Thessalonians 3:10
Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
. . . that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
. . . that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
The requests of the prayers
in the Epistles are not requests for the Kingdom to come, forgiveness,
daily bread, money, power, or worldly things. The requests made
in prayer in the Epistles are for the Word of God regarding the
revelation of the mystery to be made known. They are for the
goodness and grace of God to be manifested in the believing action of
those who walk as members of the one body of Christ "that ye may stand
perfect and complete in all the will of God!"