Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote down some of his prayers for the churches. Take the time to read and study the following scriptures in which Paul describes some of the things he prayed for: Romans 1:9-12; 2 Corinthians 13:7-9; Ephesians 1:15-19 and 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12.
As you study these prayers, notice several important things:
Paul prayed with sincerity and passion. Paul believed in the importance of prayer. He put great time and effort into his prayers, often praying over extended periods. He trusted that God heard his prayers and would move according to His wisdom and will.
Though prayer does not “earn” blessing, it does bring a release of God’s work and power. As leaders, You should pray for other ministers, and teach the people in your church to pray for each other we must spend much time in prayer for those people and situations God has put into our lives.
Paul had a correct focus. Paul did not pray for successful church programs or for entertaining sermons. Paul did pray for people. He prayed both for their specific needs (1 Tim 3:14) and for the eternal, transforming work of God in their lives (Eph 1:15-19).
As leaders, we should pray for the immediate needs of people. But we should also pray:
- For their spiritual maturity.
- For the character of Christ to be formed in them.
- For them to truly know Christ, and to experience the power and full measure of God’s love for them.
- For God’s will for their lives and ministries to be revealed to them.
- For them to be filled with every spiritual blessing. There are many more ways to pray for people. Be encouraged to study the prayers of Paul in order to gain more insight into how and what to pray for your flock.
- Leaders Need Prayer
As a church leader, it is important that you teach your congregation to pray for you during their devotional prayer times. Your role of spiritual leadership is vital, and you need God’s grace and help in order to lead effectively. You are also a target for the devil; a common strategy of the adversary is to attempt to strike the shepherd so that he can scatter the sheep (Matt 26:31).
Many leaders mistakenly believe that it is a sign of weakness to ask for prayer. But it is actually the wisest thing a leader can do!
Jesus, at the end of His ministry, prayed a very important prayer (John 17) for His closest disciples – those who would lead the Church after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Studying His prayer will teach you some important things that you, too, can ask your congregation to pray for you:
- To be “kept” from the evil in the world and from the attacks of Satan (vs.11,15)
- To live, work and minister with fellow believers in unity (v.11)
- To be “sanctified” (set apart) for the ministry of the Word (vs.17,19)
- To be “sent” into the world as Christ was with the Good News of salvation by faith in Christ (v.18).
The Apostle Paul asked others to pray for him many times. He understood that fruitful, life-changing ministry could be done only by the power of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6; 1 Cor 2:4; 4:19,20; 2 Cor 4:7). Paul admitted that he was weak and dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9,10). Yet Paul believed that God’s power would be released by prayer, and knew that it would make a vital difference in his ministry if others were praying for him.