Tonight I would like to continue our series on prayer. Last week we focused on Praying the Word of God which is a good beginning point, with tonight continuing by looking at praying Apostolic Prayers.
Probably our first question is, “What are Apostolic Prayers?”
Let’s start by looking at the word Apostolic. Apostolic means, relating to the Apostles; the Apostles being the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Primarily those who have dialog in the New Testament, the Word of God. But not just relating to them because of title, but also relating to the spiritual authority they carried as Apostles of Jesus Christ.
So when we say Apostolic Prayers, we are really looking at what primarily for tonight’s discussion, what the Apostle’s Paul a writer in the New Testament prayed, and not only just prayed or spoke, but prayed in the context of his authority in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Peter also prayed prayers over the church, but the Apostle Paul due to his many letters will be the focus.
Focusing on the Apostle Paul when he wasn’t directing how the church should live or operate; teaching them how to be the church, he was building them up with his prayers or speaking about prayer.
Paul used the word prayer ~42 or 43 times in his letters where he is either:
praying for the church
thanking the church for prayers
asking the church to pray for needs
or just motivating the church just to pray in general
The Apostle Paul knew the power of prayer, so he mentions that he prayed often. He prayed in his known tongues often, as well as in other tongues.
As we focus specifically about what he prayed when he prayed for the church, he prayed promises over them. He prayed in his spiritual authority, but he also prayed for the church to recognize their spiritual authority.
Last week, when speaking about praying the Word of God over us, I used the familiar prayer of the Apostle Paul prayed over the Church of Ephesus, in Ephesians 1:15-23. This is probably one of the key Apostolic prayers that is used in prayer over the church worldwide. We pray it here.
Why? Because it has such power for the Believer when you truly grasp all that is being said in it.
Let’s read it again. It doesn’t get old. We should pray this regularly over ourselves.
Ephesians1:15-23, “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 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,
18 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,
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
21 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. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
I challenge you to do a study on these verses so you can grasp the entirety of it.
Reading this, the Apostle Paul first thoughts was to pray for the Ephesians. Verse 16 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,”
The Apostle Paul knew the power of prayer. That the power of a prayer, spoken by a child of God changed the pray-er. The Apostle Paul knew what Jesus taught, and what Jesus did while He ministered.
He knew that the spoken word of a believer could move mountains not only within the issues of life, but would move mountains of unbelief. Our words of faith could do great things, and cause change to happen to that what was prayed for.
So when the people of the church of Ephesus came to mind to Paul, he would go into intercession for them that they would live in the fullness of Jesus Christ, and that fullness would come from a Holy Spirit driven supernatural impartation of knowledge right from God.
The Apostle Paul established the church of Ephesus on his 2ndmissionary trip, when he was there briefly, but on his third trip, he stayed there ~ 3 years. He wrote the letter to the Ephesians while in captivity in Rome years later.
And while in captivity, he received reports about the churches, and through those reports, and from revelation through the Holy Spirit, Paul was able to write and address the issues of the church, and foremost, build up the Body of Christ so they would operate in their full potential.
Prayer being in the forefront of his admonitions or authoritative counseling.
You see the Apostle Paul had revelation of the power of prayer. Because believers in Jesus Christ receive revelation through the Holy Spirit by the degree that they asked. That is why Paul prayed the way he did. He knew. He asked. He received. He is not alone. There are many others through the ages, and even today who ask and they receive. And what they receive will blow your minds.
That’s why he said to the Ephesians, that he prayed that they would receive from God, “theFather of glory, the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,”
When you know Him, your whole being will be Enlighted. The word enlightened coming from verse 18. The word Enlighted means being Spiritually aware. In the Greek it’s the word “Photizo”, to shine, to illuminate. The root of that word is “Phos”, to make manifest with fire or light.
Physical awareness is bound by what our physical senses can detect. There are no bounds in the supernatural. Spiritual awareness is eternal, because God is.
And you may say, “I don’t know about that…… but all you have to do is read the Book of Daniel, or read what the Apostle John saw when speaking of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and we can see the truth of it.
The Apostolic prayers that were spoken were said to build up the church to know who they are in Christ. To know God and His love, and His strength that through Christ we can know and participate in them to reconcile people back to Christ. But the biggest hugest thing for us, is the knowledge and revelation of who God is concerning us. We knowing Him intimately.
Paul when he had the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and grew to know Jesus intimately over the three years after his conversion, knew from revelation that his destiny was to be the example to people just as Jesus was to guide the church to reach its full destiny.
The Apostle Paul states in another Apostolic prayer to the Church of Colossae (Kolos i), to the Colossians, he says something similar to the Ephesians:
Colossians1:9-11, “ And so, from the day we heard(while in captivity), we have not ceased to pray for you, (Paul’s intercession) 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; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; “
Again, the Apostle Paul’s Apostolic prayer pointing the church to increase in their knowledge of God.
Why? So they would know!
Ephesians 1:17-18, “that God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.”
To know the strength and the power and the joy and freedom that we get when we are consumed in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. Another Apostolic prayer.
1Corinthians1:4-9,“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift,as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Apostle Paul through his writings was to move the church into its destiny. Knowledge is power, and the operation of that knowledge tears down strongholds within the believer, and those who come into contact with the believer when the believer believes.
Faith then becomes the driving force to operate in the knowledge of God, because faith is the force of things hoped for in the unseen.
Hebrews11:3,“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
So by Faith in the unseen God we understand verses like Hebrews 11:3, because we have received by revelation a knowledge of who God is, that He could create and did create the Universe, but we also receive by revelation the knowledge of who we are in Him to be used for His glory in that creation.
We receive this by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that the Apostle Paul prayed that the Church of Ephesus would receive as stated in Ephesians 1.
That knowledge through revelation will open our eyes to have hope in what we believe for when we pray. That what we speak in our prayers, or speak forth in words of declarations and decrees that they will be accomplish because of what we prayed for.
A declaration is a formal statement. It is an announcement, and when it is said by a believer who uses the basis of the Word of God for that declaration, we are declaring in faith with words that is backed up by what God has already said. I believe I said that last week.
A decree is an official order issued by a legal authority. That’s what it means. It may be easy for us to declare, but do we have faith to decree? Or do we believe that we have the authority to do so?
I did say this last week to back up this statement.
And in Luke 10:19, Jesus says to the 72 Disciples that went out to proclaim the Kingdom of God, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
He could give that authority, because He had the authority, He reiterates it in Matthew 28:18, before he ascends to be with the father, and He says to the Disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
And he continues in verse 19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
He is saying to take what they have been told by Him to do, and do it. I showed you, you do it. I have given you the tools, I have given you the power, the anointing, and the authority in My name now go. Take back dominion.
Concerning a decree, (A decree is an official order issued by a legal authority) our official order is the Word of God. And as we just read the Words of Jesus, we have the legal authority.
So when we speak the Words of God by decree to cause an action to take place, the action from our words is a supernatural impartation of the Word of God. Because well know, the Word of God has power and authority.
Impartation is communicating and making known the Words of God. The supernatural is activated by our faith. We impart a Word by Faith to see action from what we have said into whatever we are praying for.
Example, Jesus said to heal the sick. So when we are confronted with sickness, we communicate the Word of God in faith, and in the authority we have received from Jesus, and say to the sickness to leave. We do what Jesus did and told us to do.
John14:12,“Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater worksthan these he shall do, because I go to My Father.13 And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Jesus said that.
Mark11:22-24,” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain
(or let’s say instead of a mountain, we say to this bad back, or speak to our poor financial situation, or speak to our lack of a job or good job, or speak against fear or anxiety, or we just fill in the blanks),
We decree, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’and we don’t doubt, but we believe that it will come to pass. Jesus says that, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The Apostle Paul through his prayers was just backed up what Jesus was teaching His Disciples.
The Apostle Paul knew his authority and the authority of the believer. He in his prayers was just saying really, “this is what I know, and you should know it too.” “But you have to be connected in to the source of power to know it.” “I connect into that power.” “You’ve seen me.” “Some of you even saw Jesus.” “So let’s do this together.” “We are the church of Jesus Christ.” “We are Jesus now to the lost and hurting.” “We can do this, just like Jesus did.”
The Apostle Paul wanted to assure the believers in the church that they had been called. That none were left out. That this is for everybody. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. What school you went to. What your last name is. Who’s your daddy. If you are rich or poor. What your nationality. Nothing! It doesn’t matter! Everyone is included.
For the Apostle Paul, if you confessed with your mouth that Jesus Christ was Lord and believed that God raised Him from the dead. Well, you were in. It was available. It was now up to you to move toward the one who freely gives gifts when we seek Him.
Willfully move toward the one who reveals deep truths that are only received in the Spirit. That through Jesus Christ, there is a life that is so far beyond anything that we can be comprehended on this earth that is available to us as we live our lives out during this age.
When the Apostle Paul wrote about what he prayed, he was giving the church a view of a promise that all believers can have in Christ.
That we can have knowledge of God, deep knowledge, because He does not keep Spiritual knowledge from those who pursue Him. He wants us to experience Him, and know Him, and know Him so richly and deeply that we are utterly transformed by Him. And yes, that we have available to us, the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
So we as believers in Christ it is upon us to pray Paul’s prayers, and pray even what the Apostle Peter prayed in his letters, so we pray these promises on us, and pray that our faith will grow, and release the Spirit of God to impart knowledge and revelation of our Father in heaven.
When we are enlightened as Paul said, not only will we see a transformation in us, we will see a transformation in others who hang with us. How can it not happen when the supernatural power of a living God is injected into our lives and the lives of others around us because His Spirit is ever in the room with those who are filled and living His life out. Why because that is what we are supposed to be about. The complete Spirit life will totally dominate the physical life, so the Spirit life will always present where we are. Amen!
I would like to pray for us that we will take to task to pray these prayers regularly, and see what the Spirit of God does because of it, and what it does to us. We need this. We need to live a life dominated by the Spirit of God and be totally enriched in the knowledge and revelation of God and His love. Because when we are totally infused with the Spirit, how can we not change the culture around us?