Tag Archives: Prayers of the Apostle Paul

Understanding the Depth of God’s Love

If you want to think about incredibly deep love, it’s hard to do better than parental love. Most parents who are not caught up in addiction or extreme self-centeredness will ascribe deep, deep love for their sons and daughters. It’s only natural and right. And with this in mind, we probably don’t make enough of the fact that God calls us…His children. The Apostle John states that it is this kind of love which is gloriously high and wonderful:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; 1 John 3:1 (ESV)

John says, “Do you want to know what kind of love the Father has for you? It’s like the love your parents have for you, or the love you have for your children…it’s that kind of love.” J.I. Packer writes well about this in his classic Knowing God

In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge [justification] is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father [adoption] is greater.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God

The Lord wants us to understand His love, for it is this love that compels us to live for Christ and His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:14). So, how do we come to understand this love? Well, first, we need to put our imaginations to work and with God’s help, try to understand His overwhelming love for us. To do this, we can spend time meditating on the ones we love, recognizing that God’s love for us is far greater than our love for those nearest and dearest to us.

But there is another thing we need to do: You see, we are mistaken if we assume that Christians automatically have an understanding of God’s love, because the Apostle Paul didn’t subscribe to this idea. We know this because the Apostle made the comprehension of God’s love a focus of his prayers for the Christians at Ephesus, giving us a model prayer that I often pray for myself, my family, and our church. As you read, notice Who He prays to…The Father:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)

For Wednesday, November 24th: 1 John 4

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Pray This Prayer…

2 Thessalonians chapter 1 has a prayer that I have been praying off and on for over 2 decades:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (ESV)

It’s a prayer for four big things:

  1. Though we are saved by His grace and that salvation is guaranteed by His Spirit, the idea that we will live lives that honor Him…is not guaranteed. So Paul prays that we would live lives worthy of our salvation. In other words, either way, we are children of our heavenly Father, but we want to live as if we are His offspring; we don’t want to dishonor Him. We are ambassadors for Him – we pray to represent Him well. MAY I LIVE WORTHY OF YOU, LORD!
  2. All the things you are hoping to do for Him – whatever you are dreaming that He would use you for – pray that He by His incredible power would bring these things about. FULFILL MY DESIRE TO DO SOMETHING GREAT FOR YOU, FATHER!
  3. And all this is for His glory. In other words, the reason we pray that He would fulfill our desires is so that Jesus would be glorified. GLORIFY JESUS THROUGH ME!
  4. And the end result is wonderful too – that we would be glorified in Him – and all this is by His grace. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY IN WHICH I TOO WILL BE GLORIFIED…IN HIM, BECAUSE OF YOUR GRACE!
It’s one of many prayers of the Apostle Paul, and also one of the best ways to learn to pray for what really matters in life.

For Monday, August 24th: 2 Thessalonians 2



Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Praying Like Paul and Don Carson

It was in seminary that I was introduced to the idea of praying the Apostle Paul’s prayers.  My Greek professor, Dr. Don Carson (a.k.a. D.A. Carson), wrote a book on prayer (A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers), and as the title suggests, it was mostly about using Paul’s prayers to petition the Lord.  I’ve mentioned Dr. Carson a couple of times already on my blogs.  He is not only one of the most brilliant men I have ever met (one person said, during seminary – the greatest mind on the New Testament alive today), but he was my academic advisor my first year of seminary. I have a few Dr. Carson stories that I will have to relate sometime.  More than once, I asked him a question and he replied, “You know, I wrote a book on that.” And he wouldn’t be kidding – he’s written or co-authored more than 45 books.

Out of love for my dear professor, I wrote him a limerick once and put it on the chalkboard before he came into our morning class.  To appreciate this little ditty, you’ll need to know that there was a Professor of Preaching at the seminary named Dr. Larson, and that Dr. Carson never let us use Bibles that had the English words over the Greek words (called Interlinears) to easily translate.  I guess he wanted Greek to be as hard as possible. Oh, yeah, one more thing – although he had reached the top of his game in academia, he once confessed to us that he missed the pastorate (where he had started his ministry):

There once was a Doctor named Carson,

Who talked just as good as a Larson.

He taught us the Greek.

Interlinears, don’t peek!

The truth is he’d rather be a parson.

Dr. Carson came into class, saw my attempt at poetry, said, “Not bad” and quickly erased the whole thing.  He was a real treat.  I have many wonderful recollections of seminary, and among them are two days of Greek exegesis class where the great man stopped teaching us Greek and took two classes to revel in the beauty and necessity of Christ-centered preaching.(To paraphrase…”Where preaching is at a high state, the church is at a high state; where preaching is at a low state, the church suffers!”)  I still see him when he is speaking at conferences that I go to now and then, and he half remembers me – at least my face.

But I was going to write about praying Paul’s prayers, a habit which Dr. Carson taught me.  I regularly pray 7 of Paul’s prayers, keeping in mind my family and my church family.  They are…Colossians 1:9 – 12; Ephesians 1:16 – 19; Ephesians 3:14 – 19; 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12; Romans 15:13; Philippians 1:9 – 11; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13.

Let me just say a word about one of the shorter ones – Romans 15:13…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV)

It’s a great prayer to pray for someone who is struggling with assurance of salvation, and there are a couple of people in our congregation who have talked to me about this, and so I have their names on this card, but it’s good to pray for everyone.  I want my wife and kids to abound in hope and I want all of our Edgewood family to be filled with joy and peace, and I personally want to be overflowing with hope. 

So if you’re looking for a way to energize your prayer life with some really biblical prayers, this is a great place to start.  You’ll be praying like the doctor named Carson…not to mention like the Apostle Paul himself.

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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