This is one chapter excerpted from Joel's Book,
"To God Be The Glory".
How Paul Prayed
“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's
sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with
me in your prayers to God for me" (Rom. 15:30).
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:14).
In our effort to understand God the Father and His relationship
to our Lord Jesus Christ and to know to whom our prayers should
be directed, it would be helpful to study the prayers of the great
apostle Paul. He was a man mightily used of God, "an apostle
of Jesus" (II Cor. 1:1), "the apostle of the Gentiles"
(Rom. 11:13), "not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"
(II Cor. 11:5), and "was caught up into paradise, and heard
unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter"
(II Cor. 12:4). He is a man certainly qualified to write on the
subject of prayer, and one whose example we can follow.
HOW PAUL SAID HE PRAYED.
First, let's look at Paul's writings and see to whom he said he
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:14).
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every
prayer of mine for you all making request with joy" (Phil.
"We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you" (Col. 1:3).
"For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all
the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God" (I
"Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which
causeth through us thanksgiving to God" (II Cor. 9:11).
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers"
So Paul said in the six foregoing verses that he prayed to God the
Father. We know for sure that is what he said, so that is what he
practiced. I found 34 instances of Paul in prayer in Acts and in
his epistles, and we will look at them in order to learn by his
In Acts Chapter 9, Paul (Saul) was on his way to Damascus to persecute
the Church and had an encounter with Jesus, which left him blinded.
He was led by his friends on to Damascus and continued without sight,
neither eating nor drinking for three days. The Lord Jesus spoke
to a disciple of that city by the name of Ananias, telling him where
to find Saul, and to pray for him to receive sight. The Lord said
to Ananias, "for behold he prayeth." There is no indication
in this account as to whom he was directing his prayers, but in
his recounting of his conversion in Acts 22, he gives this quote
from Ananias to him.
"The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest
know his will, and see that Just One (Jesus), and shouldest hear
the voice of his mouth" (Acts 22:14).
"The God of our fathers" is the Hebrew God of the O.T.
to whom he probably was praying, but since it doesn't say specifically
who Saul was praying to, we will put a question mark by the prayers
at the time of his conversion, until we see more clearly to whom
he prayed thereafter.
We do know what Paul's first sermon was after his conversion, for
Acts 9:20 says that "straightway he preached Christ in the
synagogues, that he is the Son of God." Notice, not that he
is God, or the second person of the triune God, but "the Son
of God." This is the message that he continued to preach throughout
Now, for the second Bible account of Paul in prayer, look at Acts
16 where Paul and Silas had been beaten and shackled in Philippi,
and thrown into jail.
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto
God: and the prisoners heard them. (Acts 16:25). So they sang and
prayed to God.
Later in Acts Chapter 27, Paul was on a ship bound for Rome as a
prisoner, when they encountered a severe storm and no one on board
ate food for 14 days. Paul had a visit from an angel of the Lord
and was told that there would be no loss of life. Paul spoke words
of encouragement to all of his shipmates and verse 35 says:
"And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks
to God in presence of them all; and when he had broken it, he began
to eat" (Acts 27:35). Again, "to God."
When Paul and his companions were safely back on land they continued
on their journey to Rome. Acts 28:15 says:
"And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came
to meet us as far as Appi forum, and the three taverns: whom when
Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage" (Acts 28:15).
Now we will look at the accounts of Paul praying, as recorded in
his epistles, Romans through Philemon. (Since the authorship of
Hebrews is questioned by some we will discuss it in another chapter).
Because they are 30 in number we will only list the location of
each prayer and a quote from the Scripture as to whom it was addressed.
Location of Prayer in Scripture To Whom it was Addressed
Romans 1:9-10 "God"
Romans 10:1 "God"
Romans 15:5-6 "God"
Romans 15:13 "God"
Romans 15:30 "God"
Romans 16:25-27 "God"
I Corinthians 1:4-9 "God"
II Corinthians 1:3-5 "God even the Father"
II Corinthians 2:14 "God"
II Corinthians 9:12-15 "God"
II Corinthians 13:7-9 "God"
Ephesians 1:15-23 "God"
Ephesians 3:14-21 "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Philippians 1:9-11 "God"
Philippians 4:20 "God our Father"
Colossians 1:9-12 "the Father" (God)
I Thessalonians 1:2-4 "God"
I Thessalonians 2:13 "God"
I Thessalonians 3:11-13 "God"
I Thessalonians 5:23-24 "God"
II Thessalonians 1:11-12 "God"
II Thessalonians 2:13-17 "God"
II Thessalonians 3:5 "the Lord...God"
II Thessalonians 3:16 "the Lord of peace"
I Timothy 1:17 "God"
I Timothy 6:13-17 "God" "whom no man hath seen"
II Timothy 1:3 "God"
II Timothy 1:16-18 "The Lord" (God)
II Timothy 4:14-18 "God"
Philemon 4-6 "God"
It is very enlightening to look at these 30 prayers and see that
each one was prayed to God the Father. I cannot find where Paul
clearly prayed one prayer to the Lord Jesus; it was always to God.
Neither have I found where any other apostle prayed to Jesus after
his ascension, nor where any N.T. writer told us to address our
prayers to Jesus. The closest thing I have found from Paul's writings,
in regard to a prayer to Jesus is in I Tim. 1:11-12:
"According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which
was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who
hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into
Is this a prayer or is it an attitude of the heart? You be the judge.
Look at verse 17 of this same Chapter:
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise
God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
The "king eternal, immortal, invisible" is none other
than the Lord God, the Father, whom Paul called "the only wise
Now let's look at how Paul spoke in regard to the prayers of us,
the Lord's saints:
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings,
and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"
(I Tim. 2:1-3, 5).
"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance
toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).
Please note, our faith is toward our Lord Jesus Christ (in the work
he did on the cross), but our repentance is toward God.
"Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God
uncovered" (without hair) (I Cor. 11:13)?
"Withal praying also for us, that God would open us a door
of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also
in bonds" (Col. 4:3).
"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ"s
sake,...that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for
me" (Rom. 15:30).
"He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks:
and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God
thanks" (Rom. 14:6).
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall
bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every
one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:11-12).
The Lord to whom "every knee shall bow" in verse 11 above
is the Lord God. Paul is quoting from Isa. 45:23 but look at verses
22 and 23 to see who was speaking:
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the
word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,
That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear."
And yes, one day every knee will bow to God"s son, Jesus.
"Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him
a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things
under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11)."To
the glory of God the Father," for He is the one who decreed
this honor for His Son.
Look at I Cor. 14 and see that speaking in tongues is prayer or
praise to God.
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto
men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the
spirit he speaketh mysteries" (v. 2).
"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but
my understanding is unfruitful" (v. 14).
"What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray
with the understanding also" (v. 15).
"For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified"
"But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the
church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (v. 28).
Luke the author of Acts agrees:
"For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God"
I must confess that I have only seen these truths regarding to whom
we should pray, in the past few weeks. A few months ago I was still
praying to God the Father, and to Jesus. Up until the last few years
I had prayed to Jesus, believing that he was in fact God the Father.
My belief was called "Oneness" or "Jesus Only."
In another Chapter I mentioned how I found the apostles’ prayer
in Acts Chapter 4 to God the Father, in "the name of thy holy
child Jesus: (v. 27, 30). That was the beginning of my awakening.
I must say however that my family and I have had many prayers answered
through the years by praying to Jesus. We did it in sincerity and
God was gracious. In our ministry since 1959, through prayer we
have seen healing for cancer, asthma, Crohn"s disease, shingles
and various other afflictions and diseases miraculously through
prayer. In our family we have seen the dead raised to life again
by calling on the name of Jesus. We have seen marriages healed and
lives restored while praying to Jesus. But perhaps we could have
been much more effective if we had approached God in the manner
that He has prescribed in His word. In the past few weeks, as I
have begun to see how Paul and the other apostles prayed, I became
more aware of the public prayers of my fellow ministers. In one
service the minister who opened with prayer prayed his entire prayer
to Jesus. Three nights later another minister addressed the opening
of his prayer to God and closed in the name of Jesus. In a wonderful
service in another church this week a fine brother started off praying
to "our Lord God"; later in the prayer he called him Jesus
and thanked him for dying on the cross. He ended in Jesus name.
Of course our "Lord God" did not die on the cross, but
our Lord Jesus Messiah surely did.
But we are learning. And as we do, I believe that God the Father
will require us to approach Him properly, in order to see our prayers
answered. There is a protocol to approaching God. He is the Great
King. We enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
then we approach boldly to His throne of grace, in the name of His
son Jesus. (In Jesus' righteous worthiness, claiming what he purchased
for us on Calvary, Isa. 53:5).
If you have ever had a prayer answered, God answered it!
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus" (Paul) (Phil. 4:19)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and
cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
Jesus prayed to God the Father always, and this was not just a formality
or to set a good example.
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he
went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed"
"And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed"
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a
mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God"
(Luke 6:12). (Jesus prayed "to God").
"He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain
to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered,
and his raiment was white and glistering (glistening)" (Luke
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into
a mountain apart to pray" (Matt. 14:23).
"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he
should put his hands on them, and pray" (Matt. 19:13).
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder"
"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat
was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground"
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers
and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him (God) that
was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared"
Jesus was a praying man and he prayed to the one whom he called
in John 20:17, "my Father and your Father; and to my God, and
your God." Prayer is a declaration of dependence upon God,
and Jesus always prayed.
Look at what he taught his disciples regarding prayer in the closing
days of his earthly ministry;
"Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth
as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for
them of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 18:19).
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him" (Luke 11:13)? Notice, "That
ask him....your heavenly Father."
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that
the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing
in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:13-16).
Notice, Jesus did not say “ask me”, he said, "Ask
in my name." "That will I do," means he, Jesus, acts
as the Father"s agent in answering prayer. In Matthew Chapter
9 Jesus saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd and he was
moved with compassion. He said to his disciples:
“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest (not himself),
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt.
He is saying in essence:
“Pray to God about this problem.” (“My father
is the husbandman,” John 15:1).
"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, Verily, I
say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he
will give it you" (John 16:23)
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: Ask, and ye shall
receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). Jesus had
not included his name in the prayer he had taught them earlier called
"The Lord"s Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13).
"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs:...but I shall
show you plainly of the Father" (John 16:25). Jesus is teaching
them something new.
"At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you,
that I will pray the Father for you" (John 16:26).
Notice Jesus words "at that day" and realize that this
was to be after Jesus went to the Father. Jesus prays ("to
request, entreat, beseech") for us in heaven. "I will
pray for you." Look at Hebrews 7:25:
"Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession ("entreat
in favor of") for them."
"Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession
for us" (Rom. 8:34).
Jesus" closest friends knew that while he was on earth he prayed
to God for their needs. Look at what Martha said at the tomb of
her dead brother Lazarus:
"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here,
my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever thou
wilt ask God, God will give it thee" (John 11:21-22).
Brethren we must learn the lesson that Jesus taught in John 16.
God desires to answer our prayers, but we must pray to God the Father,
in Jesus name. Again, "in that day ye shall ask me nothing."
This is asking in prayer. We all have lost loved ones, sick friends,
we live in a dying world, and Israel is still blinded to whom her
We need prayers answered!
"If any man be a worshiper of God...him he heareth" (in
prayer) (John 9:31). We must get our worship right!
"The Father seeketh such to worship him" (John 4:23).
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth
to all men liberally...and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).
James says again (regarding the use of the tongue):
"Therewith bless we God, even the Father" (James 3:9).
"And if ye call on the Father..." (I Peter 1:17).
"Ye also...offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God
by Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5).
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Paul) (Eph. 5:20).
WHAT ABOUT OUR PRACTICE OF ASKING JESUS TO COME INTO OUR
Let's see what Paul says:
"God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,
crying Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ...that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith"
(Eph. 3:14, 17).
"Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed
us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor. 1:21-22).
As we end this chapter, let's look again at what Paul says in Philippians
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus."
WHO WAS PAUL'S GOD WHO SUPPLIES ALL OF OUR NEED BY CHRIST
Verse 20 says:
"Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen"
("One is your Father, which is in heaven" - "Not
any man hath seen the Father" - "I ascend unto my Father,
and your Father; and to my God and your God") (Jesus speaking)
(Matt. 23:9;John 6:46;20:17).
Let's pray to God the Father, in Jesus name. Paul did!
LETTER OF RESPONSE
We are in the process of mailing the tract, “Can You Face
Reality,” to over 75,000 ministers and cannot possibly answer
all of the questions we are receiving. I do regard your questions
and have answered them very carefully in a 390 page book, with over
1000 Scripture references. I spent 9 months writing the book and
know that it is a revelation of God found in His word. This is not
about selling books, this is about helping my brethren whom I love,
understand the truth as to who the one Most High God is.
My book is written from the KJV but its theme is expressed very
well by Paul in I Cor.15:21, 24-28 (New Living Translation). “So
you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the
resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. After
that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God
the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.
For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his
feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures
say ‘God has put all things under his authority’ (of
course, when it says ‘all things are under his authority,’
that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.)
Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put
himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son
authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything
everywhere.” (All a quote from the NLT). Read it in your favorite
translation, it will say the same!
The focus of my book isn't what Jesus is not, but rather who God
the Father is. God is immortal - Jesus was not. He was appointed
to death Heb. 9:27. God is omnipresent - Jesus was not. He said
at Lazarus' tomb, "I am glad for your sakes that I was not
there" John 11:15. God is omnipotent - Jesus was not. "The
son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.
I can of mine own self do nothing, if I bear witness of myself,
my witness is not true." "The Father himself, which hath
sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice
at anytime, nor seen his shape" John 5:19, 20-31, 37. God is
omniscient - Jesus was not. He did not know when he would return.
He went to a fig tree to see if perhaps, "haply he might find
anything thereon" Mark 11:13.
Jesus is coming to reign on earth (“the throne of his father
David” Luke 1:32 - he was never promised God’s throne
in heaven - Rev. 3:21) for 1000 years. Why just 1000 years? Then
God Himself is coming! Please read Revelation chapters 19, 20, 21.
The crowd was looking at Jesus, when he said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed
are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” At the end
of the 1000 years Jesus will lay the kingdom at God the Father’s
feet, and will himself be eternally subject to God the Father. (For
proof see I Corinthians 15:20-28 & Rev. 20:7-14)).
Hebrews teaches, and I believe that Jesus did not come in the God
family (there is only one God), or the angel family, but in the
human family (Heb. 2:7, 9). He is perfect, sinless man, but man
nevertheless! “Wherefore in all things it behooved him (was
necessary) to be made like unto his brethren... to make reconciliation
for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17). A God-man could not
redeem us. It took a sinless man, the Lamb of God, with righteous
blood untainted by the sin of Adam, to redeem mankind. He is the
second Adam, not the first God-man. Jesus is: “a priest for
ever” (Heb. 5:6). “An high priest for ever” (Heb.
6:20). “A priest for ever “ (Heb. 7:21). “But
this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). Please see also
Psalm 110:1 and Acts 2:29-35.
If the disciples who had just seen Jesus ascend to heaven in Acts
chapter one, did not pray to him in Acts chapter four, then he is
not God! They prayed to “God, the Lord God,” and one
time they referred to “thy holy child, Jesus,” and once
they said, “by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” (Acts
4:23-31). That is what Jesus had taught them in John 15:16, “Whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
Also in John 16:23, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in
my name, he will give it you.” There is not one verse in the
N.T. where we are commanded or encouraged to pray to Jesus.
Jesus was not just a body full of God, he was a man full of God.
He had a human mind, soul, spirit and will. Being full of God does
not make a person God. Paul said in Ephesians 3:19 “That ye
might be filled with all the fullness of God.” See II Cor.
4:11, “That the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our
mortal flesh.” (This of course does not make us Jesus). The
incarnation as taught by modern Christianity is a fable. Harper
Collins Bible Dictionary, 1996 edition says:
“(Incarnation) refers to the Christian doctrine that the pre-existent
Son of God became man in Jesus. None of these writers (Matthew,
Mark, Luke) deals with the question of Jesus' pre-existence. Paul
does not directly address the question of the incarnation...It is
only with the fathers of the church in the third and fourth centuries,
that a full-fledged theory of the incarnation develops.”
Professor James Dunn, a Trinitarian scholar says in his book “Christology
In The Making,”
“We cannot claim that Jesus believed himself to be the incarnate
Son of God” (p. 254). “In Matthew and Luke Jesus’
divine sonship is traced back specifically to his birth or conception:
he was Son of God because his conception was an act of creative
power by the Holy Spirit” (p. 51). “It is less likely
that we can find such a Christology (‘incarnation or pre-existence’)
in Paul or Mark, or Luke or Matthew” (p. 64). “Only
in the Fourth Gospel can we speak of a doctrine of the incarnation”
(p. 259). My contention is, that if Jesus, Paul, Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and Peter knew nothing of a pre-existence and incarnation,
it did not happen! John has been mis-understood! (Its what God said
that became flesh). Listen to James Hastings, a noted Trinitarian
Bible Scholar, “It may be that St. Paul nowhere names Christ
‘God.’ To a Jew the idea that a man might come to be
God would have been an intolerable blasphemy” (Hastings Dictionary
of the Bible: 1994; p. 707-708).
This is about God the Father’s glory. In Isaiah 42:1-7, “God
the Lord” gave an awesome prophecy concerning the Messiah,
“my servant” who He would send. But in verse eight He
says, “My glory I will not give to another.” He says
again in 48:11, “I will not give my glory to another.”
Jesus has “his own glory” (Luke 9:26). He shall “sit
in the throne of his glory” (Matt. 19:28). Jesus said “Father...the
glory which thou gavest me...that they may behold my glory which
thou gavest me” (John 17:22, 24). Peter said, ”God...raised
him up from the dead and gave him glory, that your faith might be
in God “ (I Peter 1:20-21). I believe that we as Christians,
in our sincere desire to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, have given
him the place in our hearts, esteem and worship, that rightly belongs
to God, his Father and ours. “I ascend to my Father...and
to my God” (John 20:17). “The true worshipers will worship
the Father” (John 4:23). When Jesus was worshiped in the N.T.,
he was not worshiped as God, but as Messiah, Son of God. There is
a difference. Solomon was “worshiped” in I Chron. 29:20,
but not as God. One day overcoming saints will be worshiped (Rev.
3:9), but not as God.
Here is a good question. If we continue to give God’s glory
to another, even His highly exalted, sinless, virgin-born son, after
we have come to the knowledge of the truth, will it be accounted
to us for idolatry? God still speaks! Please pray and ask Him.
Christian Love & Prayers,