Prayer: Examples N.T. — Paul
Segment Three Part One
Paul prayed with power and conviction. He knew what Jesus had chosen for him to do and he knew that through Jesus he could do all things. Even being in jail did not stop him from the work that Jesus had given him to do. In Philippi, Paul and Silas were put in jail for casting out a demon from a slave girl. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” (Acts 16:25) Paul knew the power of prayer.
But Paul prayed another prayer that is less well known but far more encompassing and insightful. He prayed for the church at Ephesus for their well-being and the riches that they had because of their faith in Jesus Christ. (Read Ephesians 3:14-21) He prayed for them to be rooted and grounded in love. How the love of Christ encompassed all their needs. How they could work in the power of Christ which was in them. And he ends with “…unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Paul encouraged the believers at Ephesus and they endured many hardships, including being imprisoned and killed. Still, their faith did not waver. But alas, John in Revelation 2 reminds them that they have forgotten their first love. That is a reminder to all believers to hold fast to what is most important, Christ Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Prayer: Examples N.T. — Peter
Segment Three Part Two
Peter was the leading apostle and Jesus charged him with feeding his sheep. (John 21:16-17) In this capacity, Peter wrote his letter to the churches, reminding them of what the Gospel meant to them and charging the elders of the churches to feed the flock and help them to grow as believers. Since Peter was the chief elder of the church, he could write and give them this charge.
In his letter, he prayed the following prayer: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:6-11) He issues warnings to believers and also reminds them that Jesus the true caregiver.
Peter’s letter was written to the churches of Greece and Asia Minor, but his words still apply to believers today. Read his prayer and think about his advice. What he says still rings true today.
Prayer: Examples N.T. — John
Segment Three Part Three
The apostle John is probably the last living disciple of Jesus at the time this was written. False teaching of heathen gentiles has raised its ugly head. John, as a living witness of the Lord Jesus, is writing to the church to refute the teaching of the Gnostics. His prayer is both a reminder and a fatherly concern for those who believe. He is telling them to believe in truth and to have faith that Jesus Christ can and will protect his children. John is reassuring the churches that what they have been taught is truth and to be careful with things that can be come idols.
Man’s wisdom is flawed and seldom agrees with God’s wisdom. In this prayer John is restating basic truths as a reminder. He starts with: “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth (sins) not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5: 18-21)
Even in the first century, the “wicked one” is already hard at work trying to pervert the truth and the doctrines that Jesus and his disciples taught. We are reminded that as true believers, we will need to be constantly on guard against false teaching. Man’s wisdom arrogantly teaches flawed wisdom and erroneous ideology. Pray about what you are taught and ask God to confirm what is true and what is not. The Holy Spirit, our comforter, will guide us into God’s eternal truth. That is one fact that you can take to the bank!
Prayer: Examples N.T. — Stephen
Segment Three Part Four
The prayer of Stephen is a reminder to us and an example of how we should conduct ourselves when we are being persecuted. As Stephen was being stoned to death, he still had the presence of mind to ask God to forgive them. How many of us as today’s believers would think to ask God to forgive those who are committing this kind of act? Stephen has set the example for us. When we are being persecuted, remember that those doing it are probably ignorant of who God really is and that He is a God of truth.
How many of us today, would have the presence of mind to ask God to forgive those who are committing a violent act? Stephen’s prayer is a reminder to us that we must have a forgiving spirit no matter what other human beings are doing. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:58-60) We must have faith that God knows and can use even the worst actions of human beings to accomplish his will.
Saul of Tarsus (to us Paul) was involved in this violent act. Yet, from this incident, God used it to get Paul’s attention and on the road to Damascus Paul was converted and became the missionary to the gentiles. We must remember that God knows all and has all things under His control. Yes, Stephen was martyred but Paul was eventually saved and used by God to do a great work among the gentiles. We today are a product of Stephen’s selfless act and Paul’s missionary work and writings. Praise God!
Prayer: Examples N.T. — Jude
Segment Three Part Five
How many of us have really paid attention to the epistle of Jude? Seldom do we hear it preached, but Jude has much to say to us in few words. Jude is the brother of both Jesus and James. In this letter, he not only gives us a short prayer of encouragement but reminds us that we are to contend for the faith. We are to resist all attempts of Godless teachers who want to corrupt what Jesus and his disciples taught. These false teachers are determined to undermine the truth of God’s Word and the teachings of Jesus and his disciples. We must always “contend for the faith” as Jude reminds us in verse three. We are always at war with the false knowledge of the world. We must keep true to what Jesus taught us.
Jude gives his readers and us encouragement in his prayer. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,…” (Jude 1:20) His prayer tells us that we must be constantly reading and praying about what we read in God’s Word that we might rightly apply it to our daily activities. We need to guard our minds against the propaganda that godless men will throw at us and be sure that we are anchored faithfully in what Jesus taught. We are always to search for truth.
Jude is in this short epistle warning us about apostasy, growing cold, and being led astray by false teaching. It behooves us to focus on God’s will and being obedient to what God wants us to do. Failure to do this will find us falling for lies and deception. God forbid that we should be guilty of doing this.