I pray. So do you.
We pray for ourselves, and we pray for other people. You will also know that I write about prayer often.
Are we praying in the right way for the right things? Obviously, whole books have been written about those questions. What I would like to do is give you an example of prayer from the Apostle Paul.
Paul wrote what we know of as the Letter to the Ephesians to the churches in the Roman province of Asia. You are well acquainted with many of these churches. These include the seven churches to whom Jesus spoke in Revelation 1-3. Those seven churches, Ephesus, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Pergamum, Sardis, Thyatira, and Laodicea, plus Colossae and Hieropolis are all mentioned in the New Testament.
The Letter to the Ephesians probably became a circular letter, one that circulated among the churches. This letter is about the church.
In the letter, Paul prayed for the churches. This is very different from the way I usually pray for churches.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him form the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:15-20).
First, Paul thanked God for them. Among other things, Paul was grateful for their faith in Christ and for their love for all the saints.
Second, Paul prayed that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better. Notice the reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity. Shouldn’t we be praying more and more for believers to truly know and experience God. Knowing God better always makes me better!
Third, he prayed specifically in three ways. (1) Paul wanted them to know their hope in Christ, (2) God’s inheritance that He has in us!, and (3) the power we have at work in us (the same power that raised Jesus from the dead). With all these, we live to glorify and praise God.
These prayers make great churches. May we pray for others in this way, that all of their lives should be lived to the glory of God.