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PAUL, THE MAN OF PRA YER

TALK PRESENTED DURING THE PAULINE WEEK OF ST.
JUDE’S PARISH

BY REV. FR. MICHAEL UMAMEH
For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes {Answer} in
Him {Christ}. For this reason we also utter the Amen {So be it} to God through
Him to the glory of God {2Cor 1:20}.
Pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of Prayer and Request. To
that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all Holy Ones
(Eph 6:18).
Only in the Spirit through the Son can we return to the God who has moved
to us in his Son. For Paul, Prayer is Trinitarian. The Holy Spirit is the spiritual
space, the life sustaining presence, in which we are able to be in touch with God
and with Christ.
It is our relationship, with the three divine persons that inspires us to pray
and elicit answers from God for us. Hence, we who are led by the Spirit (Rom 8:2)
are united with Christ as joint heirs (Rom. 8:14). Crying “Abba Fathers” with
assurance guaranteed in Christ.
This Trinitarian foundation is central to understanding Pauline teaching on
Prayer and allowing his Prayerful life to inspire us and teach us as a Family of
God’s Children.

WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is the raising up of a humble mind and a contrite heart to a generous
God or requesting of good things from God.
For Paul therefore, Prayer is a gift, a covenant a common and above all
living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond
measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with Holy Spirit, for the good of oneself

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and the entire creation. It is equally a habit of being in the presence of God and in
Communion with him and all those who are called by his name.
In the light of other writings of St. Paul, Prayers is a loving, humble and
trusting commitment of intimacy with God in Christ. All want to know is Christ
and to Experience the Power of his resurrection (Philip 3:10). It is a watchfulness,
being attentive to Him, looking up to God, asking in Jesus’ name in the power of
the Holy Spirit.
Jesus and the Father have the same Spirit, are one in One Spirit (Phil 1:19)
and their spirit guides us moves us (Rom. 8:14) and help us in our Prayer. When
we cannot find words to pray well, the Spirit himself expresses Our Prayers in a
way beyond words … and the Prayers expressed by the Spirit accord with the
mind of God.
Jesus and the Father are One Remaining in Jesus through his Sprit, I remain
united with the Father and I can go prayerfully to him as his Child because I have
the spirit of his Son.
In Paul, Prayer with this understanding is always, effective, efficacious and
productive.

PRAYER IN THE LIFE OF ST. PAUL
Paul himself was not only engaged in Prayers but also spoke of them, as
living in the presence of God with the earnest duty of communing with him in
Adoration, Praise, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Three aspects of prayer
emerges in the life of St. Paul.
1. Prayers for others individually or as a whole.
2. Prayed for Himself and His Missions.
3. Stimulates Others to Pray.

A. PRAYERS FOR OTHERS
Paul sent by God to the People to announce the divine message, will often
speak to God in his Prayer for the people, thus continuing his role as an

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intercessor. For Paul Christians have a responsibility of Pray for and challenge for
Pray for others. … And intercede for the Saints according to the will of God (Rom
8:27) Intercession he who prays looks not only to his own interest, but also to the
interest of others even to the point of praying for those who do him harm. (Phil
2:4).
Pray at all times, be thankful in all Circumstances. This what God wants
from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus (1Thess 5:17-18). The intercession
of Christian has no boundaries;
I urge that Petitions, Prayers, requests, and Thanksgiving be offered to God
for all Peoples for kings and all others who are in authority ( ).
Paul besides asking for Prayer for others Prayed for God’s intervention in a
miraculous way that would bring conversion, increase in faith, guidance, healing
and Peace among his new faith community. I remember you in My Prayers (Eph.
1:16) and Every time I pray for you all, I pray with Joy (Phil 1:4).

B. PRAYER FOR HIMSELF
“I was given a painful physical ailment … Three times I prayed to the Lord
about this and asked him to take it away (2Cor. 12:7-8). Paul most of the times
took out time to Pray for his mission and went as far as asking god for relief from
the afflictions and infirmities of his life. In his weakness, Prayer was a great
support and consolation.
Paul believed that his successes in mission and effectiveness of his work
plan were as a result of answered. Prayers thus he could say by the grace of God. I
am what I am (1Cor. 15:10). Brothers Pray for us too (1Thess 5:24).
For Paul then God’s grace, so richly promised, was made operative and
efficient only by Prayer “This prayer is a Spiritual energy which makes way for
and brings into factual realization the promises of God. And God’s Promises cover
all things that pertain to life and godliness, body and soul, time and Eternity. These
promises are God’s golden, fruits, to be pluched by the hand of Prayer.

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He who did not spare his own son but handed him over for us all, How will
he not freely give us everything else? (Rom. 8:32).

C. PAUL STIMULATES OTHERS TO PRAY
The importance of Paul attaches to Prayer in the Peoples life sequestrates
its place in his mind as well. In his missions, in his letters, and request he
stimulated prayer in others his teaching and Preaching were invitation to Prayer, to
Worship, repentance or be sustained in goodness.
It is my wish, then, that in every place men should Pray, lifting up holy
hands with one accord (1Tim 2:8). Persevere in Prayer (Col. 4:2). Pray at all times
(1Thess. 5:16-17). Ask God to bless those who persecute you (Rom. 12:14).
For Paul then, One of the marks of a mature Christian is the habitual life of
Prayer. Paul’s exemplary life of Prayers became a model and an action inviting
imitation for the people to join in Prayers. Paul and Silas were praying and singing
hymns to God as the Prisoners listened. (Acts 16:25). At other point Paul himself
led others at Prayers …. He knelt down and prayed with them (Acts 20:36).
Prayer is so clearly important in the life and ministry of Paul, that his
preaching, example and exhortations stimulate others to pray.
All the classic types of Prayers where used by Paul: Praise, Thanksgiving
(1Thess. 1:3-4).
Benedictional Confessions (2Cor. 1:3-7).
Intercessory-Petitions (1Thess. 3:11-13), request for the Miraculous; for Guidance,
Faith, Success and Discernment.
Paul was so aware of the human imitation that He asks all to depend on
God wholly.

CHARACTERSTICS OF PAUL’S PRAYERS
1. Spontaneous.
2. Personal expression and seasoned phrases.
3. Apostolic Prayers and Benedictions.

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THREE CONDITIONS FOR EFFICACIOUS PRAYER
1. Prayer must be made in faith.
2. Prayer must be true and sincere.
Prayer must conform with life; we imitate what they contain and obtain
what it promise".
3. Fasting and Penance (Reconciliation)
We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us we
implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:20).

CONCLUSION
In marking the beginning of the Year of St. Paul and St. Jude’s Parish Week
with St. Paul, let us be inspired by the Example of the Prayer life of St. Paul and
when we find difficulties in our Prayers, as we will, may His Prayer assist us.
Paul was a great intercessor, a man of Prayer, who Prayed taught how to
pray and motivated others to Pray and God moved. During his life he maintained
this balance between his word addressed to men and his word addressed to God.
In our time we are not only being called to be people of Prayer but to be a
people seen Praying.
May God and His Church find you afire with God in Prayer Amen.

REFERENCES
1. E.M. Bounds; Answered Prayer, Whitaler House, USA 1994
2. Robert Faricy; Praying; SCM Press Ltd. London, 1979.
3. Sr. Ann Shields: Pray and Never Lose Heart; Servant Books OHIO,
2001.
4. Walter Vogels, W.F: The Prophet, A Man of God Camelite Center of
Spirituality. Dublin, 1982.

5. Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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