Sometimes praying feels like throwing darts - with your eyes closed. You hurl some words heavenward and wonder if you've hit the bulls-eye of progress. You hope something sticks.
What have you been praying for? Do you wonder if God hears your prayers? If they matter?
Lately, I've been thinking, I don't want my words to just touch heaven, but I want them to move heaven's power on my behalf. I want God to touch even the smallest details of my life and the lives of those I love.
Do you desire the same?
I've been wondering how to be effective in prayer.
If ever there was a prayer warrior, it was Paul. If there ever was a man who moved the needle of this world (besides Jesus) - it was Paul. And, if there was ever a man who prayed with power - it was Paul.
What would happen if we prayed like Paul?
God got me asking this question. So, I searched every prayer Paul prayed (below) to find the essence of God's power held within his words. What I found were 12 categories of prayer. I hope they bless you as much as they did me!
1. God, I thank you for others.
"God, I thank you for others. I ask you to fill them, and myself, with knowledge of your will, with wisdom and understanding. Even more, may I pursue others with love, through prayer, while building unity. "
I thank my God every time I remember you. 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. (Philippians 1:3–6)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8–10)
2. God, may others be saved.
"God, may others be saved. May they understand the fullness of your love."
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 5–7)
3. May my life, and the lives of those around me, be filled to the measure of the fullness of God (through love, hope, power, strength, faith, grace and mercy).
"May my life, and the lives of those around me, be filled to the measure of the fullness of God (through love, hope, power, strength, faith, grace and mercy). Through this, may your name be glorified."
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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 saints, 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. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.(Ephesians 3:14-21)
4. May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill with joy, grace, peace and hope, through the Holy Spirit.
4. "May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill with joy, grace, peace and hope, through the Holy Spirit. Encourage our hearts, Lord God, so we may we be pleasing to you."
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. (Romans 15:13)
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may 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 joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:9–14]
5. May our hearts be in continual prayer.
"May our hearts be in continual prayer. May you open doors to our messages. May we proclaim Jesus. May we refresh others. May the mysteries of Lord Jesus Christ be open as we fearlessly convey the gospel."
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)
I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:30-33)
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
6. God, praise be to your name for all your goodness.
All goodness is you. We praise you for who you are, what you do and how you've blessed us with a new standing in Christ Jesus."
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
7. We offer all thanks to you, God.
"We offer all thanks to you, God. You do all things, You bring life and You deliver hope. Thank you for enriching us, keeping us and equipping us with spiritual blessings. We lack nothing. We praise you."
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way— in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
8. God, may you heal us.
"God, may you heal us. If we do not see healing, please speak your truth into our heart. May we know that all you give is more than enough and that, in us, you are still working."
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take (thorn in flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12: 8-9)
9. Father, may holiness and love - thrive. Sanctify us more and more.
Father, may holiness and love - thrive. Sanctify us more and more."
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 until 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]
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. [2 Corinthians 13:7–9]
10. God, may grace abound in me, to me and through me.
"God, may grace abound in me, to me and through me."
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [>Philippians 4:23]
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [1 Thessalonians 5:28]
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. [>2 Timothy 4:22]
Grace be with you all. [>Titus 3:15b]
May you protect me and those I love.
"May you protect me and those I love. Strengthen us too."
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [2 Thessalonians 3:2–5]
12. God, again, we cry, thank you, Father.
God, again, we cry, thank you, Father. Thank you for blessing us with the ability to serve you."
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. [1 Timothy 1:12]
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock and Unsplash
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
Originally published Thursday, 23 February 2017.