We’re instructed to supplicate and to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). But this can seem frustrating when we don’t even know where to start. We want to pray for others but sometimes we can’t seem to move beyond the typical “please bless so-and-so” and “help so-and-so with such-and-such a thing” prayers that we are so accustomed to, simply because we don’t know how to.
For example, I’ve recently felt the call to pray for our persecuted brethren in the Middle East. But beyond praying for their needs and obvious troubles, I was discouraged when I realized that I didn’t really know how to intercede for them. However, believing that God wanted me to move past my lack and enter into my prayer closet with bold, spiritual requests, I began asking Him to teach me how.
Immediately, He directed me to read the Bible, specifically the Pauline Epistles. Over and over again, I found the requests that Paul had made to God on behalf of the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc. I was stirred in my spirit, knowing that I wanted to pray these same things, not only for others, but for myself as well! I started to pray the scriptures, and it is unbelievable how the Holy Spirit falls so powerfully every time I do. Why? Because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, therefore, those words are His own.
Essentially, we’re praying in the Spirit every time we pray scripture and, as I have found, the more we labor in prayer with His requests, the more He’ll direct our spirits to intercede in greater measures. The Spirit will inspire us to pray for specific yet unknown things, for ourselves and for others, and will give us the words we lack in the very moment.
Here are four prayers to get you started. I’ve written them as though you were praying for yourself, but if you are praying for a certain individual or group, then obviously change the “me” and “I” to their name, or “they”, “them”, “he”, etc.
Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:16-20):
I pray that You, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You. That You would enlighten the eyes of my understanding, that I may know the hope of Your calling, the riches of glory of the saint’s inheritance, and what is the exceeding greatness of Your power that You have for us who believe in You, according to the working of Your mighty power, which you worked in Christ.
Paul’s Second Prayer for the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:14-19):
Father, I pray that you would grant me, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened in my inner-man with might by Your Spirit; that You, Jesus, would dwell in my heart by faith, that I, being rooted and grounded in love, would be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, the length, the depth, and the height of Your Love that surpasses all knowledge. That You would fill me with Your fullness, God.
Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians (Philippians 1:9-11):
I pray that the love You have given me would abound even more in all knowledge and judgment; that I may approve the things that are excellent and that I would be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; that I would be filled with the fruits of righteousness that are in Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of You, God.
Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians (Colossians 1:9-12):
Lord, I pray that I would be filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding in the knowledge of Your will. That I would walk worthy of You in all manner of pleasing, that I be fruitful in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of You. That according to Your glorious power I would be strengthened with all power, in patience, and longsuffering with joy. Thank You, Father, for making me a partaker in the inheritance of the saints in light!
And it doesn’t stop here!
As the Spirit inspires you, take your Bible out and pray those powerful scriptures over yourself, your spouse, your children; over fellow believers, missionaries, pastors, your country’s leader, and whomever else God puts in your heart.