Past and present and I would dare say that into the future, it won't be out of place to reckon Paul as the greatest Christian leader that ever walked the earth. Most of what we come to know of the new testament gospel today are all down to the writings of Paul. Indeed two-thirds of the new testament were written by this man whom church historians have described as short in stature but mighty in his pen.
But he was mighty not just in words but also in works. He said in 1 Corinthians 2:4, "And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power". And we see this throughout his preachings, teachings and missionary journeys. Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, testified how in the space of two years the whole of Asia heard the word of God through the ministry of Paul.
Acts 19:9-12, "But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews, and Greeks. And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them".
It was not just Paul's words that were special, his works by the power of the Holy Spirit were described as 'special miracles'. The word special translates as 'rare' meaning God wrought rare miracles by the hands of Paul! The Gentile nations of the world owe the light of the gospel of Jesus which we celebrate today to the works of Paul.
Today when Paul the Apostle is mentioned we are likely to see him in the lights that I have mentioned above: a great Apostle who invaded the world with the mighty words and works of Jesus Christ. The attention and focus are always on his outward works, the power and the impacts that his life and ministry have had on believers all over the world, past, present and into the future. Few, however, rarely looked into the private life of this great apostle that shook the world. We talk of the revelations of Paul but we don't give as much attention to the intercessions of Paul - the prayers of Paul!
Paul was not just a great man of revelation but a great man of intercession. Maybe because it suits the narrative that we want per time, but it is clear that oftentimes we neglect the prayer life of Paul. The spiritual labor of Paul was not just on the field but on his knees. This is why he said or prayed in Ephesians 3:14, 'For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God'. Now, what a great prayer here prayed on his knees!
Every exploit on the field is first birth on the knees.
Paul's efforts on the missionary field were birth on his knees. Here in Ephesians 3:14 Paul produced one of the finest prayers in the new testament and this is just one of his many prayers that we still pray today and which we need to give heed and attention to and pray over our lives regularly. The impact and power in Paul's life were produced by a life of prayer!
When the discussion comes up on prayer and intercessions, the likely names that we throw up are likely that of Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Elijah, and of course Jesus. The name of Paul does not readily comes up but a cursory look through the new testament shows that Paul can be a pattern to us in prayers.
"For this, cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting."—1 Tim. i. 16. His life could be a worthy pattern not just in words but in prayers.
The first recorded acts of Paul immediately after he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus was recorded in Acts 9:11, 'Go and inquire for one called Saul of Tarsus; for, behold, he prayeth'. This was where Paul began his journey, on his knees. On his knees, he conquered the field. Paul gives us an example of a man devoted to prayers and in his writings gave us a lot of prayers we can pray today.
In this study we will look at Paul's prayer life and also look at all the prayers that he prayed, their significance and how praying this prayers can alter the spiritual landscape of our lives forever. Amen!