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Prayers of Paul – Part 1

Subtitle: Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Spirit of Wisdom

The “prayers of Paul” refer to the four epistle prayers of the Apostle Paul. They are found in Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-12. These prayers run very deep, going past the intellect and straight to the heart. I would encourage you to get to know these prayers and make them your own.

It has come to me that praying for Paul was not just something he did but it was who he was. He took is as a burden (light and easy) from the Lord. Praying was a calling, along with preaching the gospel. May we come into praying with that same mind. God is raising up intercessors – those who will stand in the gap between God’s will and the fulfillment of it.

The first prayer of Paul we will look at is from Ephesians 1. This prayers is deep, with many sides and layers. Like an onion and with the aid of the Holy Spirit we will peel back some mysteries. Are you ready? I suggest taking notes.

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which 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 principality and power and [i]might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Eph 1:15-23, emphasis mine)

The first petition Paul had was that the Father of glory would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. We will look at the spirit of revelation in the next article. But for now wisdom calls for our attention.

The Greek word for wisdom in our text is sophía and means “wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.” It carries the idea of having knowledge in many areas. This is not mere intellect but a knowledge that comes from above.

Jesus, in Matthew 12:42 made a fascinating statement about wisdom.
“The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”

The “queen of the South” refers to the Queen of Sheba. She came from a great distance, with a large company and many goods, to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now we know Solomon got his wisdom because God asked him what he wanted and he chose wisdom. And we can see wisdom opened many other doors for him. But back to Jesus’ point.

Jesus offered up the example to show them that even the queen traveled a great distance to get wisdom from a man and yet they (those of the generation that rejected Jesus) refused the wisdom of the Son of God. May we not be counted among those who reject the wisdom of Jesus for our own human reasoning!

The authors of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record very few details about Jesus as a child and His formative years. But see these two examples:

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

See the pattern? Jesus was filled with wisdom and increased in wisdom. Some might say “Well of course, He was God. Easy for him.” In response I would point to this verse about Jesus: “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) Jesus also learned to be filled and increase in wisdom. And (lean in to listen) so can we.

Before Jesus left the earth he warned the disciples of the troubling days ahead. He said there would be famines, wars and the like. He also said believers would be imprisoned for the sake of the gospel. Jesus gave this advice:

“Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” (Luke 21:14-15)
Jesus promised they would be given a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Lord, help us not to meditate what we will say beforehand. Thank you for the mouth of wisdom!

Speaking of not being able to resist check this out. In Acts 6 we learn that the church was multiplying. There arose a dispute regarding certain widows being neglected. The Apostles put out the word to appoint someone to oversee the ministry.

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” (v.3) Stephen was chosen for the position, based on his wisdom and being full of the Holy Spirit and faith. Now see this:

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. (vv.8-10)

How awesome is that? And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Lord, fill us with faith and wisdom. Use us with signs and wonders. Give us wisdom that the dark forces is people will not be able to resist.

Spirit of Revelation

The Greek word for “revelation” found in our leading scripture (Eph 1:17) is apokálypsis. Throughout scripture is has at least two distinct meanings. The first refers to the second coming of Jesus (example: Rom 2:5 “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”) The second refers to divine revelation given to a believer (example: Gal 1:12 “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”) We will focus our attention on the latter since in this case the spirit of revelation regards our “knowledge of Him.”

Skipping to the last book in the Bible, the Book of Revelation. Yes, it is an amazing prophetic book that tells of the final, end time battle. We see the end of the reign of Satan and the rising of the bride of Christ. So there is no mistake God showed us the purpose of the Book in the first verse.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place…” (Rev 1:1a)

It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, first and foremost. Many are intimidated by the book but I would say if you want a greater revelation of the person of Jesus this is a great place to go and spend some time.

The primary way we receive revelation is through the person of the Holy Spirit. Before leaving the earth Jesus promised He would send the Holy Spirit.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

The Holy Spirit is very glad to guide is into all truth and that includes giving us revelation. Let’s look at a familiar account in the Bible but see it with new eyes. Picture it. Jesus approaches the disciples one day and asks “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) Some of the disciples answered John the Baptist, Elijah or another of the prophets. But Simon Peter said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (v.16) Jesus responded “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (v.17)

That was the spirit of revelation in operation. In fact, we cannot know anything of that spiritual magnitude without the Holy Spirit revealing it first. So back to the prayer of Paul. He was asking for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God to be present. We can – and should – be praying this prayer over our spouses, children, Pastors and the like. That kind of praying, as we continue along with Paul’s prayer, leads to HOPE, VALUE and the release of POWER in the life of the person being prayed for. We will look deeper into that in future articles.

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