Why Was Prayer so Important in the Missional Work of Paul? Essay

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¶ … Prayer for Paul and his Missions

The Apostle Paul is known for shaping the history of Christianity - partially for his past but primarily for his action as a Christian. He is perhaps the most popular missionary and he devoted his life to spreading the word of God. He proudly taught the tenets of the Christian life. In the forefront of his missionary work was the need for prayer. A believer in prayer and the power of God, Paul prayed much and sought prayer from other believers. The significance of prayer in his life cannot be underestimated because by asking for prayer, he is unleashing the power of God. Without knowing that others were praying for him, he might have felt more isolated in the towns and communities where he preached. Without prayer, he was a man with less power than he would have with prayer. He understood this and was quickly to ask for prayer - especially concerning missions because he knew those prayers would be answered. In a foreign land, the thought of friends praying for you can go along way. While Paul prayed for others, he could be comforted knowing that others prayed for him.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Why Was Prayer so Important in the Missional Work of Paul? Assignment

Paul is so mindful of prayer that he never wrote a letter without mentioning it. He was a prayer warrior among other things and without prayer and the peace of mind that it granted him, he surely would have ended up another man. Through Paul, we can discover the power and importance of prayer. Prayer is a significant tool for many reasons. It is a source of power for believers. It is one of the most important things to Paul because he believes he knows it can transform lives. When he leads the church, one of the first subjects he speaks of is prayer. In I Timothy, he speaks about prayer and its significance. When we pray for others, Paul notes, it is "good and pleases in the sight of God our Savior" (New International Version I Timothy 2:3). This includes praying for him because this kind of prayer includes the mission work so close to Paul's heart. It is significant because behind that prayer is the other prayer that includes salvation for those that he the word. Here we see that prayer is significant because Paul knows that when others are praying for the mission and the salvation of others, they are also praying for him.

When Paul instructs other to pray, he is doing so with more than one purpose in mind. As he thinks long-term, he sees a prayer ministry that will carry on long after he is gone. His vision is to see that that ministry, or prayer circle, will meet the needs of all believers everywhere. However, for a man whose heart is in the field, we can only assume that Paul intended for the missions to be an integral aspect of prayer. We must remember that mission work is huge. It is not simply praying for missionaries. It is also praying for those who might hear the word and every step along the way that allows the word to be spoken. Every step of the process from finding suitable lodging, to finding a place for believers to gather are issues that need prayer and attention. In Paul's mind, all of these things were needs that could and should be given to God. Even as he wrote from bandage, he was very aware of what was needed to keep his mission alive. He did not pray specifically for himself. Instead, it was in relation to the missions. For example, in Colossians, he writes, "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains" (Colossians 4:3). Here we see that Paul prays for the message before he prays for himself and even when he does mention himself, it is in relation to the mission. Another example of when he prays for the mission like this can be seen in Ephesians, when her writes, "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" (Ephesians 6:19-20). Again, we see that Paul only seeks prayer for himself in relation to God's work. This request is made on behalf of everyone. Another example of this can be seen in Romans, when he writes, "Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there" (Romans 15:31). Here we can see how Paul's prayer is actually for more than himself in that his character will be a witness for all of the new individuals that he encounters. It is very important that he be strong and refreshed in their company for he is a representative of God. Prayers of restoration no doubt encouraged Paul to carry on when things got rough.

Prayer for the mission field is also important because of what it means for believers everywhere. Paul knows that only by spreading the word will the name of Jesus be known and he is not afraid to be the one to light that torch. He knows that by praying for the mission, believers are praying for others. Specifically, they are praying for change to occur in others. After all, that is the whole point. We see this in Thessalonians when he writes, "Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake" (I Thessalonians 1:5). It is a never-ending cycle and Paul knows that believers must pray for one another everywhere.

Prayer goes both ways. While he asks for others to pray for him, he is quick to let others know that he is praying for them as well. He lets his brothers in Christ know that he has not forgotten them and he remembers their "work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope" (I Thessalonians 1:3). There is nothing more powerful than personal example, so Paul uses this in his time of request to keep the power of God close at heart. He writes:

The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia -- your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead -- Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (I Thessalonians 1:8-10).

Here we see that Paul is asking believers to remember how they once were and how they are now and he is using that image to urge them to pray. These verses encompasses the whole aspect of missionary work and the power of prayer when it is coupled with people who are dedicated to the cause of these missionaries. Those to whom he writes have no doubt been touched by the very kind of mission work that they are being asked to pray for elsewhere. In a world without the Internet, Paul has managed to build a rather large network of believers from across the land. His reach is strong and this only more of a reason for others to pray for him and his cause. These verses give us evidence that it is working. Prayer works and it is the lifeline that allows Paul to go on when times are difficult. The fact individuals are turning from praising idols to praising God is the heart of any mission work.

Prayer is also important to Paul because it is one way that others can be with him while he is away. Not everyone can be a missionary but through prayer, God's children are connected to one cause and one Father. From the point-of-view, we can see that Paul is not afraid to ask for personal prayer, however. Just as he prays for those that love God, he expects them to pray for him and his mission as well. In Ephesians, he writes, "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" (Ephesians 6:19-20). He needs their prayer and so do the unsaved. Salvation is available to everyone and the only way that will occur id through mission work. In a sense, it is the responsibility of believers everywhere to pray for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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