The Prayer Life of the Apostle Paul & How to Pray Like Him


man on knees praying

Paul probably accomplished more for God than any other person in history. He planted churches, he saw souls saved by the thousands, he wrote about two thirds of the New Testament, he was persecuted for the Gospel. The apostle Paul was a powerful man of God! But the thing that most impresses me about Paul is his inner life with God, his prayer life.

The apostle Paul was a man of prayer. Based on his writings it is clear that he lived in constant fellowship with the Father, and he instructed us to do so as well. In this article, we are going to be covering the main aspects of Paul’s prayer life, and how we can follow his example. Let’s get started.

Paul Sang Praises to God

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20)

“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the  conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)

Singing was a huge part of the apostle Paul’s prayer life. The Bible tells us to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Psalms 100:4). So when we come before the Lord in prayer, we should sing to Him and worship Him through lifting our voice. Regardless of how we sound, whether good or bad, we sound good to God.

Singing also gets our hearts right before Him, and helps us enter into His presence with our eyes on Him instead of this world. I believed this is what Paul realized when He worshipped the Lord through singing.

This is also what Jesus taught His disciples to do in Matthew chapter 6 when He told us to start praying by saying “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” He instructed His disciples to begin with worship. (Related Article: How to Pray Like Jesus).

Paul Interceded For the Churches

Paul had a burden for the church. He wanted the church to walk in everything we have been granted in Christ. He poured into the church of his day in three ways: through example, teaching, and prayer. We can learn from him in each of these categories, but we’re going to continue focusing on prayer and try to answer the question “what did the apostle Paul pray when he was praying for the church?”

#1: He would pray for wisdom and revelation.

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 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, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places(Ephesians 1:15-20)

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, 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 long-suffering with joy.” (Colossians 1:9-11)

Paul would pray for wisdom and revelation to be increased to God’s people. If you study these scriptures out, you’ll find that everything that follows Paul’s prayer for wisdom and revelation is a list of the fruits that would come as a result of the prayer being answered. That’s why he says “that you may” after each prayer in both passages.

#2: He would thank God for every believer.

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:15-16)

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy.” (Phillipians 1:3-4)

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Romans 1:8)

We should be thankful for everyone who accepts Christ. It helps us maintain a correct view of the people being prayed for.

Now days we rarely thank God for other believers, but to Paul it was a necessity. The people in these churches weren’t perfect, but they were perfected by the Living God, and for that we should be thankful.

There was only one church in the scriptures where the apostle Paul did not mention that he thanked God for them or prayed for them, and that was the Galatian church.

The reason why? They were rejecting the true Gospel by resorting back to the works of the law, so Paul didn’t give his usual introduction. He went to flat out rebuking them. So as long as the individual has accepted Christ, we thank God for them.

Paul Thanked God & Prayed for Everything

“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Phillipians 4:6)

Paul lived in constant fellowship with the Father. We know this because he tells the church to “pray without ceasing”, “give thanks for everything,” and “in everything by prayer.”

This may seem like a daunting task to pray without stopping, but it’s not impossible. If Paul can do it, so can we.

The apostle Paul was not a special person. He may have received revelation directly from the Lord, and he was no doubt a mighty man of God. But he was not different than you and me. He was made up of the same amount of dirt as us, he had the same 24 hours in a day as us, and he had to get saved just like us.

Lets follow Paul’s example and live in constant fellowship with God. (Related Article: Pray Without Ceasing: What is it and How to do it).

Paul Spoke in Tongues A lot!

“I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18)

In 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthian church about the organization of the gifts of the Spirit within a church setting. And he mentions that he speaks in tongues more than all of them. That’s impressive!

Paul says with confidence that he speaks in tongues more than every believer in the city of Corinth.

This means he was probably speaking in tongues when he woke up in the morning, in between meals, and when he laid his head down at night.

“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the  conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)

This is my favorite passage of scripture because it reveals, more than any other scripture, Paul’s inner life of communion with the Lord. We already used this scripture to see that Paul sang praises to God in His prayer time, but there is more that is revealed here.

Paul would switch between praying with his understanding, and praying in the Spirit. That means that 50% of the time he was speaking in tongues when he went to spend secret time with the Lord. That’s powerful! (Related article: Singing in the Spirit: What it is and How to do it)

I believe if Paul was asked “how can I achieve power in prayer?” he would respond with a mention of speaking in tongues. (Related articles: 5 Benefits of Speaking in Tongues and Speaking in Tongues: 5 Things to Know From the Bible).

Conclusion

I heard someone say once, “If we want the same power as the apostles, we must do what the apostles did.”

The man I heard say this was Reinhard Bonnke. He was an evangelist in Africa who saw millions come to Christ, and he was the founder of Christ for All Nations. If you haven’t heard of him, I suggest you check him out. His statement is a simple one, but it is true nonetheless.

Paul was a living example for us. And if we want the same fruit that he bore, we have to walk after the same pattern that he lived, and more importantly: prayed.

I hope this article assisted you in your walk with the Lord. If you enjoyed this article, please consider giving a donation of any amount by going to theĀ support page. The support I receive from you enables The Biblical Foundation to reach more people with the teachings of the Word of God.

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