I thought I’d pass along something I started doing last year that I’ve really liked. It’s nothing all that new in that people have been praying through Paul’s prayers for generations, but I took it a step further for my own use and thought you might find it helpful.
I took three prayers of Paul from Colossians and Ephesians and rewrote them (which, I know, sounds a little sketchy) into prayers I can read and make applicable either to me or to people I pray for. I then entered the rewritten prayers into a note app on my phone so I have them with me at all times.
The way I rewrote them was to take all the third-person references to God and replace them with ‘You’ since I’m addressing the prayer to God. Then I took all the references to ‘you’ (where Paul refers to his readers) and changed them either to the name of the person I pray for or to ‘he/she.’ I also massaged the beginning of the prayers in a couple of cases to make them more readable. The effect of these changes was to make the prayers something I can read directly to God and do it at pretty much any time since they’re on my phone.
Probably my favorite prayer is from Colossians 1:9-14. Here’s what it looks like in the app (the blank is where I fill in the name of the person I’m praying for):
May _____ be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that (s)he may walk in a manner worthy of You, to please You in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of You; strengthened with all power, according to Your glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to You, who have qualified him/her to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For You delivered _____ from the domain of darkness and transferred him/her to the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in whom (s)he has redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 is a great prayer to pray for your whole family at once or for each member individually:
I bow my knees before You, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name, that You would grant _____, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in the inner being; so that Christ may dwell in his/her/our heart(s) through faith; and that he/she/we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that _____ may be filled up to all the fullness of You.
Lastly, the prayer in Ephesians 1:17-19 is a prayer you can pray for anyone – believer or unbeliever. It works for all people:
I pray that You, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to ____ a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of You. I pray that the eyes of his/her heart may be enlightened, so that (s)he may know what is the hope of Your calling, what are the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe.
I hope this is helpful. It’s been great to pray these prayers when I’m sometimes not sure just what to pray for someone. I also try to pray through these for my wife and kids on most days. What can be better than praying back to God His own Spirit-inspired words?