– Ephesians 1:17
There are many times in life where we know we need to pray but lack the knowledge or language of what to pray. Whether it’s a personal circumstance, a friend or family member in need or news on the television, it can be difficult to know what to pray. Praying the prayers of the apostles found in the New Testament can profoundly impact how and what we pray.
There are common themes throughout the prayers demonstrated by the apostles:
We primarily see the apostles praying to God for something to be released (Ephesians 1:17; Philippians 1:9). The focus of their prayers is not on what the enemy is doing, rather it is centred on what God can do (Acts 4:23-31). What we focus on in prayer dramatically impacts how we feel when we pray. When we focus on the negative things that are happening this can cause us to feel overwhelmed and powerless to change anything, but, when we focus on what God is doing and what God can do, it fills us with faith and hope.
The apostles were praying for people, usually the church in a particular city. When we are interceding, we are praying on behalf of a person or group of people. It helps when we think of who we are praying for and the effect that prayer would have on this individual and those around them. When we “see” in our mind’s eye what could happen when God answers this prayer, it helps us to pray in faith, because we are praying for something tangible. Seeing those who we are praying for also gives us God’s heart for that person or those people we are interceding for. For example, we are exhorted to pray for those in leadership and government (1 Timothy 2:2) and by using positive biblical prayers we are both coming into agreement with God’s heart for those people as well as having our own heart transformed as we agree with God’s heart.
When we pray prayers from the bible, we know that these are prayers that are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are revealing a piece of God’s heart and will for the church. As we pray them, we find our own minds being transformed (Romans 12:2) and renewed to know God’s will.
When we are praying with others we are able to cultivate a spirit of unity when everyone can agree with the prayers that are being prayed. By praying prayers from the bible, everyone can enter into agreement with one another because it helps prevent us from praying our own ideas or opinions as to what God should do and helps us submit to what He has said in His word He will do.