Biblical Prayers

A good resource for the content of our prayers is the Book of Psalms and the text at beginning of Paul’s Epistles. Paul will often tell his letter’s recipients exactly how he is praying for them early on in his letters. This way, prayers are biblically inspired-what was on the heart of the biblical writers and recorded for us. The first chapter of Ephesians gives a prayer that Paul prayed for the early Christians whose faith Paul only heard about (Eph. 1.15). Also, in the whole of “Ephesians” Paul doesn’t acknowledge anyone or offer any personal greetings. This seems very odd for Paul who ministered among the Ephesians for almost 3 years and is out of step with his usual personal manner. I believe this epistle is in fact a letter to the Laodiceans.

Anyway, Paul prays that God would give the readers and hearers of this church the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that they would know Him better (Jesus). This connects with Isaiah 11.2 which Paul was referencing, the seven-fold Spirit of God which the Book of Revelation also speaks about. We need God’s Spirit illuminating His word to Know Him better. Also, we need enlightenment about our hope to which we are called in order to focus on what is important in life since our long home with God is what matters. Now remains Faith, Hope, and Love (1Cor. 13.13). Most Christians don’t focus on Hope enough, I believe. Here is the prayer:

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength. (Eph. 1.17-19 NET)

Also, compare Paul’s prayer for the Colossians in Col. 1.9-12, which gives very similar concepts. Paul wanted the churches to read and compare both letters (Colossians and Ephesians) to better grasp the meanings (Col. 4.16). Here is the Colossian prayer:

For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. (NET)

Notice the key elements: spiritual understanding, knowledge of God, and power of God for patient endurance.

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