Have you ever wanted to become a prayer warrior? Do you want to get beyond the basic (not unimportant) mentality that prayer is asking God to “touch everyone, heal everyone, help everyone, and bless everyone?” What if you began to pray about God’s will even more than your will?
Perhaps the next step if for you to take a deep dive into the prayers and desires that heroes in the faith had.
I believe to be effective in our prayer life we must train our perspective on prayer. Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with Christ. Further, we must know how to use this weapon we’ve been given by God — especially when in seasons like the one we’re in.
Though not exhaustive regarding all the prayers in the N.T., this post will train your perspective on what to pray by showing you 41 of Paul’s N.T. prayers (or desires). I’ve taken the list from D.A. Carson’s A Call to Spiritual Reformation, and added some commentary in “focus” portion of the graph below. Does God care about “Aunt Sally’s knee surgery?” and “Little Johnny’s ‘sniffles?'” Of course He does. But when prayers for physical ailments dominate our prayer lists and church prayer chains, perhaps it’s worth considering a chart like the one below and asking ourselves, what else can I be praying for? What is God’s will in this situation? What brings Him ultimate glory? Is my will aligned with His?
Relief, provision, healing, and protection are excellent things to pray for. But, the gospel is why we are here on earth and God’s glory is what we must long for most. Until heaven, let us pray with that perspective!
Here are some ways to use this chart:
- Pray one of Paul’s prayers daily, in addition to your normal prayers. Apply his prayers for other believers to the ones in your own life.
- Use his prayers a way to invite the conviction of the Holy Spirit into your own prayer life. Are you focusing on mostly physical things? Are your prayers (though this might sting) shallow and earthly? Do you hold the gospel as primary and all else secondary?
- Share this list with a small group or Bible study cohort and work through it as a study tool.
- Try praying for only gospel-centered things for 3 straight days — multiple times per day.
- Try praying prayers that only loaded with thanksgiving to God for 3 straight days — multiple times per day.
- Make a list of all the ways that you could be the answer to the prayer you’ve been praying. For example, instead of praying that “someone share the gospel with your family member,” why don’t you share the gospel with your family member (even if it’s the 50th time)?
- Start listing out your prayers and keep track of how many revolve around you and your wants. Work to balance spiritual and physical requests.
The list above is only to spark your thoughts. Use this chart however is best for your prayer life training.
Paul’s 41 New Testament Prayers
|Scripture Reference||Quoted Passage||Prayer Focus|
|Romans 1:8–10||First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.||Thanksgiving, and that Paul would be able to come see them.|
|Romans 10:1||Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.||Salvation for others.|
|Romans 12:12||Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.||Encouragement to pray.|
|Romans 15:5–6||May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.||Harmony and unity between believers.|
|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.||For joy and peace to fill their lives.|
|Romans 15:30–33||I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.||That Paul’s gospel efforts would succeed.|
|1 Corinthians 1:4–9||I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.||Thanksgiving, that believers would be strengthened and be found faithful when Christ returns.|
|1 Corinthians 16:23||The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.||God’s grace.|
|2 Corinthians 1:3–7||Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.||Praising God for who He is as our comfort and our everlasting hope in hard times.|
|2 Corinthians 2:14–16||But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?||Thanksgiving to God for the victory we have in His Son Jesus Christ.|
|2 Corinthians 9:12–15||For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!||Thanksgiving to God for provision, generosity, and the grace of God through others.|
|2 Corinthians 13:7–9||But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.||Asking that God would keep them from sin.|
|Galatians 6:18||The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.||God’s grace.|
|Ephesians 1:3–5||Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,||Praising God for mercifully saving us as His children and blessing us spiritually through Jesus Christ.|
|Ephesians 1:15–23||For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.||Thanksgiving for what God is doing through their faith, that wisdom and knowledge would illuminate them to the hope and inheritance that they have in Christ. Praise and adoration to Jesus for His victory over sin both now and when He returns to reign over all.|
|Ephesians 3:14–21||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. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.||Reverence and adoration to God the Father for who He is, that the saints would be spiritually strengthened, knowing the love of Christ. Glorifying God for His power.|
|Ephesians 6:19–20||and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.||That the gospel would be preached boldly.|
|Philippians 1:3–6||I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.||Thanksgiving for faithful saints who partner to spread the Gospel.|
|Philippians 1:9–11||And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.||That love would abound in the believers, that they would live holy lives and be found faithful.|
|Philippians 4:6–7||do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.||Pray without worry, with total thanksgiving, and receive peace no matter what.|
|Philippians 4:23||The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.||God’s grace.|
|Colossians 1:3–14||We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.||Thanksgiving for the faith that saints are living with and their whole-hearted example as Christians. For strength, endurance, patience, joy. Praise and adoration to God for His power and victory. Praise to God for His merciful redemption and fogiveness of our sins through Christ.|
|Colossians 4:2–4||Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.||Be faithful and alert in your prayer life, be thankful, pray that the gospel would be spread.|
|1 Thessalonians 1:2–3||We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.||Thanksgiving for what God is doing in the lives of believers.|
|1 Thessalonians 2:13–16||And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!||Thanksgiving for the way believers received the word. Praise for the Word’s work in their lives.|
|1 Thessalonians 3:9–13||For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.||Praise and thanksgiving to God for the joy that comes from seeing believers live out their faith. Requesting that the Lord would grow their love for each other, that they’d be blameless/holy.|
|1 Thessalonians 5:23–24||Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.||That God would sanctify(cleanse) the believers and they would be found blamess when Christ returns.|
|1 Thessalonians 5:28||The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.||God’s grace.|
|2 Thessalonians 1:3–5||We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—||Thankgiving because the faith in God and love for each other is growing.|
|2 Thessalonians 1:11–12||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.||That God would grow them in their faith and in good works. That their spiritual fruit would glorify God.|
|2 Thessalonians 2:16–17||Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.||That they would be comforted and strengthened in their walk.|
|2 Thessalonians 3:1–5||Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.||For the Gospel to spread quickly, God to be glorified, deliverance from wicked men who were stifling their efforts, for direction and steadfastness.|
|2 Thessalonians 3:16||Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.||For peace from God.|
|1 Timothy 1:12||I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,||Thanksgiving to God.|
|1 Timothy 2:1–3||First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,||Pray for government and leaders, for saints to live quiet and dignified lives to please God.|
|2 Timothy 1:3–7||I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.||Thanksgiving, thoughtful affection for a brother in the Lord. That they would be reunited to labor for the kingdom together again one day.|
|2 Timothy 1:16–18||May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.||Mercy (and approval) for Paul’s friend and supporter when the he stands before the Lord one day because of his faithfulness and loyalty.|
|2 Timothy 4:22||The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.||God be with you.|
|Titus 3:15||All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.||God’s grace.|
|Philemon 4–7||I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.||Thanksgiving for the faith and love they have for Christ and others. That their witness would be effective for Christ.|
|Philemon 25||The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.||God’s grace.|