Learning to Pray from the Apostle Paul part two

29 May

We are looking at the way Paul prayed for other believers to learn how we can do the same.

In this post, we’ll look at two more specific ways we can learn to pray from Paul.

*     Second, when you pray for others, you can ask God to increase their joy and peace in believing the gospel so that they will just have an overwhelming amount of certainty and assurance about all the good God’s going to do them in the future.

I get this from a prayer that comes later in the same chapter, Romans 15:13, where Paul says,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

So God is the God of endurance, encouragement and hope, it’s obvious that Paul looks to God for every good thing, and what he wants God to do here is fill these believers up with the kind of joy and peace that come from believing in Jesus, and he wants them to experience that joy and peace so that they will abound in hope, which is a kind of rock solid certain assurance about what God’s going to do for them in the future.

And that’s a pretty amazing prayer request. When you think about what other believers need most, this gets to the heart of it. You can pray specifically for others:

–      That they would see how good it is to trust in Jesus. That they would have joy in believing. Do you pray for people’s joy and specifically joy in Christ? Pray that they wouldn’t think of believing in Jesus just as something that is only hard and a duty, but that they might really find delight in Christ. Specifically, you can ask God to help them not be so burdened down by all the stuff that is happening to them that they get their eyes off Christ. Because that is what so often happens. Peter was walking on water when he was looking at Christ, but once he looked at the waves, he started sinking and so do we. You can ask God that their faith in Jesus wouldn’t just be a words only kind of thing, where they say the right things about Jesus, but that they might really receive inner peace and inner joy from their trust in Jesus. I like this idea of peace from believing too. That their trust in Christ would give them a settled heart, that deep down they would be in chaos, but their heart would be at rest.

You can take these kinds of prayer requests and do some specific applying to particular situations as you pray as well.

Maybe someone is a new mother, and you can pray for them Lord please help them not to get so busy with nappies that they fail to focus on you or maybe someone has a job that is very difficult and you could pray that they would keep trusting that Jesus is for them even when their boss isn’t.

–      Further, you can ask God to help them be really, really sure about all the good God has in store for them. That is what it means to abound in hope. In other words, pray for other believers that they would never start wondering whether God is for them. That they would be able even when things aren’t going their way to be sure that God is still working things out for their good. That they wouldn’t be constantly looking for excuses to give up on God, but instead that they would be the kind of people who are constantly looking for how God is turning different situations for their good.

What’s more, you can pray that God would help them get to know what their hope is, that God would help them to fix their minds on what is valuable.

Because you will meet some people who even though they are Christians, all they can think about is now, now, now and they are so worried about getting more money so they can have a better life now, and so you can be praying for them, God please help my friend value heaven and not be led astray by a desire for so much right now.

You might spend time especially praying for some of the young people in the church, because when you are young it is so easy to get your hopes wrong, and pray that God would help them to be convinced He is for them, and that they wouldn’t waste their lives, but they would use their lives up for what really matters, that God would help them store up their treasures in heaven.

And you can pray for them, that when things don’t go their way, that they don’t get thrown too off and that they don’t start fearing that maybe God hates them just because they didn’t get into the University they wanted or something like that.

*     Third, you can ask God to give them wisdom and help them not to make wrong choices and specifically that they would not believe false teachers who are telling them lies but that they would be able to identify and trust those who are telling them the truth.

That is a third prayer request and we find this in 2 Corinthians 13:7.

Paul is concerned that the Corinthians might stop trusting him. He’s actually having to do a lot of work in this passage to remind the Corinthians that he is a true apostle and that they can count on what he said to them and he’s afraid that they are going to turn from the truth and start listening instead to people who are teaching them error and so he writes,

2 Corinthians 13:7:

“But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.”

The wrong there would be turning from a true teacher like Paul to false teachers, and we can certainly still be praying this same kind of thing for the people we love here at church.

Specifically be praying,

–      For others in the church that they will continue to trust godly leaders and true teaching; because it seems like Satan is always attacking trust in godly leaders, and I think he does that because once you stop trusting your leaders then you stop listening to them and once there is divisiveness here, then he’s going to do all kinds of damage to the church, so what you can do is pray for godly leaders who won’t swerve from teaching you the truth and pray that God won’t let you or others become confused about who godly leaders are.

–      Pray that God would give them the ability to spot when someone is telling them lies. Since Satan’s primary strategy in his attack on the church seems to be through deception, we need to be praying for others in the church that they are able to tell when they are hearing lies. Pray that they might have a good spiritual instinct for when someone is trying to take them down the wrong track in their relationship with God.

–      Pray that God would give them a taste for the truth and a distaste for lies. One of the reasons people fall for deception sometimes is because they like what the liar is telling them more than they like what the person who is telling the truth is saying. So pray, that deep in their hearts, they would really hate lies, and especially lies having to do with God.

–      I think we can also pray that God would quiet false teachers in Pretoria. It is kind of like there is just so much error being shouted so loudly in people’s ears all the time, that there are people who are having a hard time even hearing the truth. When you even mention the truth to them sometimes, their minds are so stuffed with deception that they can’t hear it for what it is and so we need to pray that God would shut some of these businesses that call themselves churches down and that these false teachers would stop stealing people’s money and that there would be more and more churches raised up where the truth is loved and proclaimed.

–      Pray that God would help them to love godly teachers. When you love someone it is a whole lot easier to accept what they are saying to you, and so you can pray that godly pastors would love their churches and that their churches would really love them and that there wouldn’t be any of that silly stuff that gets in the way of the relationship they have with one another which keeps them from benefiting from what their leaders are teaching them.

 

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