I’ve been reading and studying Paul’s great prayer in Colossians 1:1-14. An article in the New Bible Dictionary reminds us that ‘in his Epistles Paul is constantly breaking out into prayer, and it is instructive to glance at some of his prayers because of their content.’ The article goes on to summarise some of the main prayers of Paul recorded in his epistles:-
1. In Rom. 1:8-12 he pours out his heart to God in thanksgiving (v. 8), insists upon serving Christ with his spirit (v. 9a), intercedes for his friends in Rome (v. 9b), expresses his desire to impart to them a spiritual gift (vv. 10f.), and declares that he too is depending upon them for spiritual uplift (v. 12).
2. In Eph. 1:15-19 Paul again thanks God for his converts (vv. 15f.), and prays that they may receive the Spirit through whom comes knowledge of God and illumination of heart (vv. 17-18a), in order that they may know the hope of God’s calling, the wealth of God’s inheritance, and the greatness of God’s power which had been demonstrated in Christ’s resurrection (vv. 18b-19).
3. Again, in Eph. 3:14-18 the apostle pleads with the Father (vv. 14f.) for his fellow-Christians that they might be increasingly conscious of God’s power (v. 16), to the end that Christ might indwell them, and that they might be rooted in love (v. 17), that each together, being perfected, might be filled with the fullness of God (vv. 18f.). Both of these ‘Ephesian’ prayers are well summed up in Paul’s threefold desire that Christians should receive knowledge and power issuing in the love of Christ, through which as individuals and a group they should achieve perfection.
4. In Col. 1:9ff. Paul again prays that the believers should know God’s will through spiritual wisdom and understanding (v. 9), that practice might agree with profession (v. 10), that they might have power for their practice (v. 11), and be thankful for their immense privilege and position in the Lord Jesus (vv. 12f.)