I have had the pleasure of knowing some wonderful men who were/are spiritual fathers to me in Christ: Bill Grace from my years at Stater Bros., Rev. Daniel Clyde, a long-standing source of peace, wisdom, and guiding truth.
And most recently, I was reacquainted with a man who inspired my love and knowledge of God to an even deeper level, Rev. Paul Kaufman. I am sure you can name some great founts of inspiration yourself.
We as Christians do share a common spiritual father in our walk with the gracious Savior; the Apostle, preacher, and teacher of the Gentiles, Paul of Tarsus (1 Timothy 2:6-8).
Nearly two-thirds of the epistles were written by Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They reveal Paul’s early life’s innocence (Romans 7:9), his utter awareness of personal and original sin; the condemnation the law brings as an observant Jew prior to salvation (Romans 7:10-25), his justification in Christ (1 Tim. 1:13), the witness of the Spirit to his son-ship in the Father (Romans 8:15), and the sacrificial offering of his earthen vessel to the service of the gospel of peace (Gal. 1:16, 2:20, 1 Thess. 2:10).
His whole life is laid before us to examine: his disposition, character, struggles, temptations, and the workings of the Spirit on his heart.
This and a few other posts will be examining Paul’s prayers. Jesus taught us how to pray and Paul showed us further revelation how the Comforter intends to shape the church into a pure and blameless bride prepared for her bridegroom.
These prayers reveal the church’s deepest needs and concerns.
Looking into Paul’s prayer life is an invaluable source of wisdom and guidance. We can see the development of bride of Christ through Paul’s long-suffering and trials.
I am sure they were written with tears and blood as Paul continued to oversee, teach, rebuke, and exhort the new born church. All the while, being relentlessly persecuted and attacked by those bound by sin unto destruction.
He was a bond-servant and disciple of Christ. And we are called to follow after him (and the other apostles) even as he followed after Jesus Christ.
The following scriptures are exhortations that Paul and Peter gave to the church. These instructions apply dearly to all who through faith obey, not in his presence only, but now much more in his absence, by working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Brethren, be followers together of me,
and mark them which walk so
as ye have us for an ensample.
1 Thessalonians 1:6
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord,
having received the word in much affliction,
with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1 Thessalonians 2:14
For ye, brethren, became followers
of the churches of God . . .
That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who
through faith and patience inherit the promises . . .
1 Peter 3:13
And who is he that will harm you,
if ye be followers of that which is good?
This exhortation grows from from following the Paul’s life and instructions; to following all the Apostles, disciples, and the Lord; then on to following the newly developed churches of God.
Paul then tells us to following those who have or are inheriting the promises of God. The final exhortation comes from Peter telling us in harmony with his brothers in Christ to follow “that which is good.” This can be none other than the perfected doctrine as revealed in the lives of the Apostles, sanctified believers, and epistles.
This Pentecostal dispensation of the Holy Spirit continues today. As sincere believers, it becomes patently clear that we are to follow all that Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the other Apostles taught. Lest we utterly fail “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” and “go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1).
Therefore, let us leave the imperfections of following after those who have strayed from the foundational principles of the early church; return and follow all we are instructed to.
Paul’s First Recorded Prayer
On the road to Damascus when struck by the blinding presences of Jesus, Paul asks Him face-to-face, “What shall I do Lord?”
It reveals the directness by which which the prayers of the truly pentinent and righteous are heard.
Jesus was in the very presence of Paul during this request and His answer was swift, sure, and true.
“And the Lord said unto me,
Arise, and go into Damascus;
and there it shall be told thee of all things
which are appointed for thee to do.
And when I could not see for the glory of that light,
being led by the hand of them that were with me,
I came into Damascus.
~ Acts 22:10
Paul’s first prayer was a prayer of action. It served as a funnel in which all the desires and purpose our Lord began to filter deeply into his heart.
Oh, may our prayers open up our heart to the wonderful workings of our Lord!
If we are to be imitators of Paul, we also need to ask the Lord what should we do for Him.
This is not an easy proposition. It requires sacrifice of our own interests, desires, goals, even our lives. God replaces our self-willed purpose with His voice, guidance, and power of the His Holy purpose.
This can only be accomplished through complete submission to the work of the Holy Spirit.
There is much to be done.
Are you in a place where He can hear you?
Source: Half Hours with Saint Paul by Daniel Steele, D.D.