It’s hard to talk about what Paul Prayed for in the epistles without mentioning the subject of Grace. It seems to me that every epistle of his gospel opened with this particular prayer. And indeed other apostles like Peter seems to also take that approach and I can readily call to mind, Peter’s prayer in 2 Peter 1: 2 where he prayed, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”. It is in this same manner that Paul opened most of his epistles.
1 Corinthians 1:3, Paul prays: ‘Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ’(it’s the same opening you will find in 2 Corinthians 2:1)
Galatians 3:1, ‘1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,’.
All of Paul’s epistles opens and sometimes closes with the prayer for grace. Similar scriptures you will find in Galatians 6:18, Ephesians 1:2, Ephesians 6:23-24, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1b, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 6:21, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3. Indeed every time at the end of our worship service when we chorus these words ‘let’s share the grace’, we are simply praying the prayers of Paul from 2 Corinthians 13:14, ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.’
The prayer for grace reveals the fullness of God made available to mankind! And this is what we spiritually tap into when we ‘share the grace’ as we normally say.
It’s a short prayer but a prayer that captures succinctly all that the gospel made available to us! It captures all that the Godhead made available for us. Through love, God sent forth his only begotten Son to mankind (John 3:16) that whosoever believeth will not perish but have everlasting life! And then the Son came manifesting to us as grace. For John tells us in John 1:12-16, ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace’. And when the son would leave he wanted this grace to continually abide with us and so he sent forth the communion, the fellowship of the Spirit of God to continually minister to us both the love of God and the grace of Christ!
The prayer for grace reveals the fullness of God made available to mankind! And this is what we spiritually tap into when we ‘share the grace’ as we normally say. Now it’s good to have that spiritual understanding when we pray that prayer, it is not a spiritual cliché or creed for closing the service. It is a prayer that provides a spiritual gateway to access the fullness of God!
Why did Paul pray for grace so much in all of his epistles? Why did he value grace so much that it becomes the opening prayer for all of his epistles? First, this will give you an insight into why Paul valued grace so much. In the King James version of the bible which is the first English translation of the Bible from its original text(thank God for other translations, but KJV is the closest to the original words of the Bible), the word GRACE was used 159 times. Of this 159 times, 83 of this was as used by Paul in his epistles and if we agree that Paul is the writer of Hebrew then that figure increases to 90! So more than 60% of the time the word GRACE was used was by Paul. Grace was such an important issue for Paul that in Romans 11:6 he used the word GRACE four times while in 1 Corinthians 15:10 he used the word 3 times. This becomes significant when you reckoned that most books of the bible don’t have the word GRACE use in any place. Isaiah did not have the word grace, Jeremiah had it only once!
The fulfillment of our destiny is at the expense of grace.
Why does grace mean much to Paul and he prayed for it always? A good student of the bible would have hazard guess that answer by now. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul laid it bare, ‘10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me’. In other words, Paul was saying here that great destinies are born on the altar of grace! Paul was great because of grace! He needed grace to fulfill destiny and his life calling, and if Paul needed grace , then we also need much more!
The fulfillment of our destiny is at the expense of grace.
Today as you read this you are coming into greater grace for your life and destiny!
Now I don’t mean to have a full discourse on the grace of God here, maybe I will do that in a separate series, but reading all through Paul’s discourse on the subject of grace I cannot but reach the conclusion that the idea of Paul’s grace may be much different from what we herald as grace today. Today grace is made to be seen as synonymous with weakness, with failure to keep up with the demands of walking with the Lord, as a covering and spiritual excuse for our spiritual failings. However, nothing can be farther from the truth. Grace is not a divine excuse for that which is lacking, grace is a divine supplier for that which is lacking! For in 2 Corinthians 9:8 the Bible tells us, ‘8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work’
When grace abounds lack of every kind is abolished for we are fashioned with every kind of ability to abound in every good work. In other words when grace is available there is nothing we cannot do. And I tell you there is nothing we do in life that grace is not available to help us do, there is no circumstance in life that grace cannot avail for. This is why Paul prayed this prayer in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that all kinds of grace will abound to us all. You can make this your prayer today. Amen.