Pauline Principles of Prayer
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
When we talk with God, the interaction is much more difficult than when talking to others. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” But while that is true, we also hear other voices clamoring for our attention. So, we have things to help us to pray in a manner that connects us to God (which is the goal). Romans 8 says that we often do not know how to pray. But the Holy Spirit will intercede in our prayer life for us. He will make our requests to God according to God’s will. Some view this as praying in tongues, and I think it fits that description, but this ministry of the Holy Spirit is active whether or not we are praying in tongues or not.
Rom 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Jesus also teaches His disciples to pray in Luke 11 and teaches on the discipline of prayer in Matthew 6. In each of these instances He emphasizes god’s kingdom and will and our persistence. In Matthew He says that God knows what we need before we ask. This is meant to give us confidence.
The final really big help in prayer that I see in the NT is the prayers that are recorded in the letters of the Apostle Paul. Paul regularly prays for the churches that he is writing to. And our passage today is an example of that. Since this is how Paul prayed, I think it is a good strategy to consider what he prays for and incorporate that into our regular prayer life.
- Pray for God’s Will
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
It is not always easy to know what God’s will is in a certain situation. We know what we want, but to pray for what God wants can be tricky. Remember: Jesus says pray, “Your kingdom and will be done.” The Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. This means that prayer itself, will aid us in discovering God’s will!
- Thy kingdom come
God’s kingdom is His rule in our lives. God is good all the time, but we live in a complicated world. Jesus says in John 16:
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The trouble of this verse comes immediately with the crucifixion of Jesus, but that trouble does not go away, but the Disciples mature as they understand the kingdom and will of God and in Acts 3-4 they suffer boldly!
Jesus in the Garden: Not my will, but yours be done. I think this gives us permission to want something different from how it is, but our default position in life is reliance on the will of God!
Paul in II Cor 12: My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in your weakness.
- Confusion about God’s kingdom
If God is… then…
Disappointment with God is a reflection of this. We don’t see as we need to see!
God does not force His rule. This is the confusion and the problem and leads to the solution. Parable of the absentee landlord. Is He still the Landlord? Jesus is trying to help them to understand the kingdom of God. They think they need circumstantial blessing. Jesus is providing them with the blessing of the Holy Spirit. God with us!
We are little temples. The Holy of Holies is our innermost being. The Holy Spirit sets down in us and He is the Spirit of wisdom.
- Wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit
This is how you have the wisdom to know God’s will. It comes from the Holy Spirit.
Where is the beginning of wisdom? Fearing the loss of God’s blessing vs. the loss of pleasure that the Spirit gives. Fight to gain this understanding. (spiritual warfare)
Develop discipline and the perspective that it gives to our lives. DO NOT HATE HARDSHIP! And do not pray for it to be done away with in this life, at least not until it has done it’s work! Consider James 1:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
- Pray for God’s Pleasure
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
- Our lives would be worthy of Christ’s sacrifice
Deny self, take up cross, follow Jesus. Not all following is this difficult, but when it is, when it requires endurance, then here we are.
Great patience and endurance would characterize our lives. v. As opposed to trusting and serving God when it pleases us and is easy. (Pray that we would be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might!) Resurrection power! Paul’s prayer in
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
We will not know the power of God to Resurrect the desires of our heart that we sacrifice to Him without the sacrifice. God’s power to Resurrect our desire, understanding etc. can be known. Paul prays that we would know it!
- We would bear fruit in every good work
Fruitfulness is purpose. It is the opposite of a wasted life. And this is spiritual fruitfulness, because it is really the only kind that can be guaranteed!
Bearing fruit means to produce the result that we are created for. Your fruit does not look like my fruit. It will have similarities if we are both following Christ, but we have different gifts and serve in different areas. And remember that your service is for God. People will not recognize your service, they may even resent your service, and they will not deserve your service. This is why you serve Christ. He is pleased, He understands and He deserves your service. This is why we do not submit to our spouse because they deserve it. This is why we do not serve our employer/ employees because they deserve it.
- We would grow in the knowledge of God
Know about Him from Scripture
Know of Him from our own experience. We are living Epistles
II Cor 3: 1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Know God’s love that is beyond knowledge: Paul prays in Ephesians 3:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
- Pray for God’s Joy
giving joyful thanks to the Father,
- Joy comes from celebrating with thanksgiving
This is the will of God for you!
I Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Again from James 1: Count it all joy whenever you encounter trials of many kinds!
Phil 2: Do all things without grumbling or complaining!
What are we celebrating?
- We are living in a different kingdom
We moved from darkness to light
We moved from condemnation to justification and complete redemption.
We are no longer indebted to God for anything except gratitude and love. (Just like what we desire from our children!)
We have a different purpose in life that is life giving!
- We share in God’s inheritance
Jesus came to give us life. God delights to bless with light for darkness, purpose and meaning for our lives, direction that guides our character in every circumstances. And we have the Holy Spirit inside of us to give us power!