The Prayer Series - Part 1

Jan 19, 2014

Romans 10:1-3
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Paul grieved over the fact the those he had grown up were on their way to hell. He had such compassion for them that he would have traded his own salvation to save them if he could.

Rom 9:2,3 I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh.

Such was also the self-sacrificial grief of Moses who prayed for his sinful brethren. "Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written." Ex 32:31,32

Now consider how you would fill in this sentence:

"My heart's desire and prayer to God for ____________ is that they may be saved."

If you have someone in mind, pray for that person now.


Rom 15:5,6
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul is not praying for institutional unity - unity based simply on one's allegience to particular denominations, a mindset which leads to division rather than unity. He is praying for unity among the Christian community in the way that we actually think. Such unity is achieved when we become likeminded with Christ.

Note how Paul introduces his prayer prior to this saying, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."

Pray that God may grant the Christian community to be like-minded with Christ, thus resulting in being like-minded with one another, especially when it comes to tolerating our various scruples.


Rom 15:13 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.

Paul is praying here that these Christians may experience joy and peace as they walk in faith. So pray that you and your fellow Christians may likewise experience and peace in believing. And may God fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.


Rom 15:30-32
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

This is an example of praying for those who are trying to serve God in the midst of hostility - both from the world and from the saints.

Much of the world today is hostile to Christian's serving God. And given denominational differences or institutional eliteness, such hostility may even come from fellow Christians.

While such experiences are nothing new, and in fact should be expected whenever serving God, note that even Paul here doesn't rely on himself, nor on his own prayers concerning his personal experience of such hostility, but calls on other Christians to pray for him.

So when you're praying for fellow Christians involved in service in hostile environments, remember to pray these two things:

1. That they may be delivered from evil men.
2. That their service may be acceptable to the saints.


Eph 1:17-19 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.

There's information we get about God in the Bible. But while it's one thing to be informed, it's another thing to be inspired. It's one things to be informed of the hope of his calling, which is namely eternal life in heaven. But it's another to take that to heart. It's one thing to be informed of the riches of the forgiveness of our sins (Eph 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.") But it's another to fully grasp the significance. And it's one thing to accept the fact of the greatness of God's power towards us who believe - such as his power to raise us from the dead. But it's another to be inspired by that fact.

Thus a matured faith goes beyond the mere acceptance of facts and teachings, to grasp the revelation of those ideas, their implications and applications. And God wants you to get to that point.

But at issue here in this study is how do you get there. Well we see here that one element that helps is to pray for yourselves and others that God may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

Now as vague and esoteric as this may seem, consider adding this to your prayer requests.


Eph 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

While Paul speaks of many effects here, there's one thing that he's praying for - one things of which the rest are the effective results - namely to be strengthen in one's inner convictions. For every other aspect of one's Christian life is dependent upon the degree of one's Biblical convictions.

In describing Christian faith Paul speaks of the faith of Abraham saying, "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." Rom 4:20,21

It's is strength of conviction that leads to Christ dwelling in one's heart through such faith, the practice of which is submission to Christ as Lord. But such submission leads to revelation.

Note that in our study of the previous prayer in (Eph 1:17-19), Paul prays for them to have revelation, here we note that revelation is imparted to the individual in the process of them developing and applying their convictions.

Jesus speaks of submission leading to revelation in John 14:21 saying, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

And revelation leads to a transformed life - a life filled with the fullness of God.

So here's another thing to add to your prayer list for yourself and others - that God may strengthen one's convictions and the quality of one's faith.


Eph 6:18-20 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Yes even Paul requested Christians pray for him - that he may have boldness in preaching the gospel. And so how much more the rest of us. And notice the last phrase, "as I ought to speak". That is, when the gospel is preached, it's supposed to be preached boldly, fearlessly.

You know, according to the Law of Moses, those who were afraid were not even allowed to join the battle. They were commanded to stay home. So also when it comes to preaching the gospel. God doesn't want it preached timidly. So pray for those involved in the ministry of the gospel, that they may carry out their ministry fearlessly. And pray particularly for those involved in attempting to get the gospel to muslims and hindus in countries in which freedom of speech is not respected as one's right.


Php 1:3-5 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.

While some Christians feel they are in competition with other Christians in the work of the ministry of the gospel, and some churches or Christian ministries feel they are in competition with others, not so with Paul - and not so with those of a matured faith. For we are one body, "joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Eph 4:16 And thus there should be a team spirit among Christians - a spirit of encouragement and appreciation for each doing their part.

But note also that Paul was not thanking the Phillipians. Rather he was thanking God. Why? Because their involvement in the ministry of the gospel was evidence the God was working among them. Conversely if you know of Christians who are not involved in the ministry of the gospel, that's also something to pray about. For in some significant way things are not as they should be in their life. But thank God when you see progress in their ministering.


Php 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Love for fellow Christians is one of the primary characteristics of a Christian. In fact "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death." 1John 3:14 "And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1John 4:21 Jesus himself said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

But the actual practice of love can be difficult to grasp. For WHAT in particular do you do? And how can you DISCERN the real needs to be met, and the way in which to meet them? Thus Paul prays this prayer. And so also should we. For applied love is one based upon a proper understanding of the circumstances. It's actions are based upon one's discernment of the real needs and how to properly meet those needs. And God is willing and eager to help us in these areas.

It's one thing to have a feeling of love, but where the rubber meets the road, knowledge and discernment are necessary.


Php 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

If you feel some anxiety about something, then the Bible instructs us to talk to God asking Him about that matter. Like any good father, God is concerned for the emotional state of his children. And while God may not deliver us from our fears in the way that we thought, He will give us a peace of mind which by the world's standards would seem strange to them given the circumstances. But remember not just to ask and receive, but to give back to God through thanksgiving.

Think now as to what fear or circumstance God has recently delivered you from and give Him thanks for doing so.


Col 1:3,4 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints.

A couple of the main identifying marks of genuine believers Paul references here is:
1. their public allegiance to Jesus Christ and
2. their love for all the saints.

And by "saints" Paul is referring to the Christian community including themselves as he says in verse 2 "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse")

Furthermore John notes Jesus' main commands saying, "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." 1John 3:23

Paul would pray for such people constantly. But in particular of note here is that he not only prays FOR them, but also he GIVES THANKS to God for them. For as he noted in 1Cor 3:6,7 "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

Consider what constitutes "praying always" for a particular Christian group or individual Christian, and how you might apply that idea to a particular group or person you know. And consider also what recently converted Christian you might thank God for.


Col 1:9-12 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it(of their conversion), do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,

being fruitful in every good work and
increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might,

according to His glorious power,
for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
giving thanks to the Father

who has qualified us to be partakers of
the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Paul was constantly praying for these Christians as he also noted in Col 1:3. But we see an example of the content of his constant prayers for them.

Note that while there is alot of content here, the basic request is really just at the beginning, namely that they "be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Everything following that is an effect or purpose for which he desires them to have such knowledge. Knowledge alone puffs up one's pride as he says in 1Cor 8:1 "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." Thus the attaining of knowledge should be for the purpose of edification.

Now consider this the other way around. Paul was thinking how they might live a lifestyle pleasing to God as Christians should live. What constitutes a lifestyle pleasing to God?

1. One which is fruitful in every good work, which requires one has knowledge as to what constitutes a "good work" and wisdom as to how to apply oneself in doing the good work.

2. Being a Christian of strong conviction as revealed in one's longsuffering through opposition, which requires the conviction as to what God's will is.

3. Being thankful in light of the inheritance, which requires a revelation of the eternal implications of the gospel.

Note that it's these kind of things that Paul is primarily concerned about. So consider how you might pray for these particular things in the lives of yourself and other Christians.


Col 4:2-4 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Perhaps one of the most challenging and frustrating issues among practicing Christians is finding an open door for the word. We know that "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Rom 10:17 But how to get the essential message out so that people may have an opportunity to believe? For "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"Rom 10:14 And this because particularly difficult in countries which place heavy restrictions on the communication of the gospel.

So whether it be for your own opportunity or for that of Christians elsewhere, pray that God would open a door for the word. And pray not only concerning "opportunity", but also for the openness of those listening, like it says concerning Lydia in Acts 16:14 "The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message."

Consider who to pray for concerning this matter and pray now.


Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Paul recalls of the Thessalonians among other things their "work of faith and labor of love" 1Thess 1:3 Work is a product of faith. But labor is more than mere work. It speaks of the intensity of one's work. (Women going into labor is a much more intense idea than men going into work!) Labor, or "laboring fervently" here, speaks of one's love. May all our prayers be characterized in such a manner.

For these Colossians "to stand perfect (mature) and complete in all the will of God" while being the summary or primary objective of Epaphras' request, in fact the particulars of his prayers were probably too extensive to elaborate upon. Nonetheless it is instructive to keep this objective in mind whether praying for your own edification or that of others.

But be aware that if you pray this prayer, the following may occur:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4