Not including benedictory prayers at the ends of his epistles, Paul records twenty-eight of his prayers! It is nice to trace these prayers through his writings. We are very thankful for them because they give us: (1) an insight into the heart of the apostle, and (2) a pattern for the way we should pray.
Thirteen of them are petitions (asking for something).
- Romans 10:1. Praying that Israel would be saved.
- Romans 15:5–6. Praying that the saints would live in harmony and glorify God.
- Romans 15:13. Praying that the saints would be filled with hope.
- Romans 15:30–33. Praying that he would be delivered from the evil plans of the unbelievers, and that the believers in Jerusalem would accept Paul’s ministry.
- 2 Corinthians 13:7–9. Praying to God for the restoration of the Corinthians.
- Ephesians 1:15–23. Praying that the saints would know their spiritual blessings and their future inheritance, and that they would know that God’s resurrection power is now employed on their behalf.
- Ephesians 3:14–21. Praying that we would be built up in the truth and that we would see the Love of Christ underneath it all.
- Philippians 1:9–11. Praying that the saints’ love for one another would grow, that they would reap the spiritual benefits of these actions, and that God would be glorified.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Praying that God would progressively sanctify the saints, and preserve them to the rapture.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12. Praying that God would help them to walk worthy, and to walk in their personal exercises of faith, that ultimately the Name of Christ would be glorified.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17. Praying that God and the Lord Jesus would comfort their hearts amid persecution, and establish them spiritually.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:5. Praying that the Lord would direct their thoughts to the rapture, and to the Lord’s desire to have the saints with Him.
- 2 Timothy 1:16–18. Praying for the Lord’s mercy on the household of a man who sacrificed his family reputation for fellowship with Paul.
Eleven of them are prayers of thanksgiving.
- 1 Corinthians 1:4–9. Thanking God that the saints had been richly endowed with spiritual gifts, praying that God would sustain them to the end.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3–4. Thanking God for His comfort to the apostles and the saints.
- 2 Corinthians 2:14–16. Thanking God that the apostles were able to glorify Christ through every circumstance no matter what the outcome.
- 2 Corinthians 9:15. Thanking God for the gift of His Son.
- Philippians 1:3–5. Thanking God for the saints’ partnership with Paul in the Gospel.
- Colossians 1:3–5. Thanking God for the saints’ love to all the other saints.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:2–3. Thanking God for the saints and for their work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Thanking God that the saints had received the Word fo God as divinely inspired.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3. Thanking God for the saints, and for their spiritual growth, and the increase of love for one another.
- 1 Timothy 1:12. Thanking the Lord for giving him strength.
- 2 Timothy 1:3–5. Thanking God for Timothy, and his unfeigned faith.
Four of them are a combination of both: a note of thanks, then a request.
- Romans 1:8–10. Thanking God for the saints, praying that he would be able to visit them in person.
- Colossians 1:9–14. Praying for the saints’ spiritual growth, and giving thanks to the Father for the wonderful salvation He has provided.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13. Thanking God for them, and praying that he could see the saints again, that they would be established spiritually, and that they would grow in love for one another.
- Philemon 4–7. Thanking the Lord for Philemon’s faith and love, and praying that he would see God’s work in the hearts of other believers.
In 2 Corinthians 12 we find another of Paul’s prayers, not exactly recorded, but recounted for us. Paul prayed three times that the “thorn for the flesh” would be taken away, and then ceased when the Lord answered “My grace is sufficient for thee”. When we are praying for something for ourselves, we need to be sensitive to His will. When God chooses to give us grace (to go through it) instead of mercy (to get out of it), then we need to leave it with the Lord. But when it comes to praying for others, Paul could say “we… do not cease praying and asking for you” (Col. 1:9).
Other benedictory prayers are found in: 1 Cor. 16:23; 1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:16; 2 Tim. 4:22; Gal. 6:18; Philemon 25; Phil. 4:23; Titus 3:15.