The Role of Prayer for Leaders

October 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

Prayer should play a strong role in the life of a leader. Any leader who has attempted to achieve great things has realized that he cannot do it alone. Instead, he needs the guidance and support of God. In this post I show you some of the basic ways that the apostle Paul relied on prayer during his ministry.

The Role of Prayer for LeadersPhoto Credit: Anggie

I. PAUL PRAYED WITH OTHERS

Reading Paul’s letters you often see him including others with him in his prayers. In Colossians he writes, “We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col 1:3, emphasis mine). Another example is Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, “As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3, emphasis mine). Later he wrote, “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (2 Thess 1:11).

II. PAUL PRAYED TO GOD

Paul knew his God and Creator and regulary prayed directly to God the Father and Jesus Christ. “God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son” (Rom 1:9). “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Phil 1:3).

III. PAUL PRAYED FOR THE PEOPLE HE WAS WRITING TO

Among Paul’s many letters to many different groups of people he always prayed for those people he was writing to.

A. Romans

“God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son” (Romans 1:9).

B. Philippians

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Phil 1:3)

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding” (Phil 1:9).

C. Colossians 

“We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col 1:3).

D. Philemon

“I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon” (Phlm 4).

IV. PAUL PRAYED CONSTANTLY

In his letter to Philmenon Paul shared, “I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon” (Phlm 4).

A. He Prayed Day and Night

Prayer was a regular part of Paul’s life. In the last letter Paul wrote (which is included in the New Testament) he told Timothy, “I thank God for you–the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers” (2 Tim 1:3). Earlier in Paul’s life when writing to the Romans he said that “God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son” (Romans 1:9).

B. He will continue praying

Prayer was not something Paul did haphazardly; prayer was a constant event in his life. “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give youthe power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (2 Thess 1:11). Furthermore, “We have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9).

C. He Always Prayed

While Paul says that he prayed day and night as well as that they would continue praying, in other letters he says that he always prayed. To the Colossians he wrote, “We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col 1:3). And to the Thessalonians, “We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly (1 Thess 1:2)

Question: What other references in the New Testament mention Paul’s reliance on prayer? 

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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