Paul’s Prayers

Paul’s prayers for the church are strewn throughout the New Testament, and in those prayers, we see the heart of Paul for the early believers, and I believe, by extension, for the entire church throughout history.

This week, we are looking at several of Paul’s prayers, though not all, and not in their entirety. As we look at these prayers, I want you to note a recurring theme.


For the church in Rome, Paul prayed that they will be filled with joy and peace.

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.
– Romans 15:14, ESV


For the church in Ephesus, Paul prayed that they might “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” a curious irony to be sure, and that they “may be filled with all the fullness of God.”1 He later charged them to “be filled with the Spirit”2 rather than drunk on wine.


For the church in Philippi, Paul prayed that they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness

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.
– Philippians 1:9-11, ESV


For the Colossians, Paul prayed that the believers would be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, and that their fullness of knowledge would be wrapped in spiritual wisdom and understanding.

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,
– Colossians 1:9, ESV

In the next chapter, Paul prayed further that their hearts would be encouraged, that through being knit together in love they would “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,”3

Are you seeing the thread in these prayers? Fullness. Full. Filled.

We are filled with all joy and peace in believing (Rome), filled with the fullness of God (Ephesus), filled with the Spirit (Ephesus), filled with the fruit of righteousness (Philippi), filled with the knowledge of God’s will (Colossae), filled with the assurance of understanding (Colossae).

With all of this fullness, how could we ever have room for anything else? If we are so filled with fullness, filled to the point that the fullness is overflowing, we have no space in our lives for darkness, for rebellion, for uncleanness. We can say with David…

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
– Psalm 25:5, ESV


Jesus also had much to say about fullness. In his Sermon on the Mount, he said…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.

– Matthew 5:6, BSB

In John 15, Jesus is laying down some hard teaching on abiding in the vine (him) and bearning good fruit. Those branches that do abide in him and do bear fruit are pruned that they might bear more fruit. Those branches that do not bear fruit are cut away and burned. This is stern teaching from the King.

But then Jesus tells us why he said these hard sayings.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
– John 15:11, ESV

The reason Jesus says difficult things to us, the reason he demands that we abide in him and that we allow him to abide in us, the reason Jesus mandates that we bear fruit is that he earnestly desires that we be filled to overflowing with joy. Indeed, joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.4

Ponder these verses. Go back and read each in its context. Make it your goal The goal to be filled to overflowing with God, so much so that is it God’s character that defines your very essence.

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon
X – @DamonJGray
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1. Ephesians 3:19
2. Ephesians 5:18
3. Colossians 2:2
4. Galatians 5;22-23a

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Damon J. Gray

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  1. Debbie on May 6, 2024 at 7:50 AM

    Thanks Damon 😌

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