The apostle Paul was in lockdown mode. The governing authorities prevented him from going to work, and he was working from prison or house arrest.
A crisis had developed. He needed to be out on the front lines helping Christians, and he was forced against his will to stay away.
It must have been lonely and frustrating. Add to that the fear and anxiety of what was going to happen to him. Would he be executed for preaching about the resurrection of Jesus?
So he prayed. Do you know what he prayed about? Let me show you some samples from a few of his epistles (letters) that he wrote from prison. See if you can find a common theme in these prayers.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:16,17).
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father” (Colossians 1:9-12).
What did Paul pray about during a crisis when he was on lockdown?
- He focused on God, and
- He lifted up the spiritual needs of others.
Do you want to find spiritual strength during this crisis?
When you pray, focus your prayers on God—who he is, what he has done, what he is able to do—and less on surrounding circumstances.
Secondly, when you pray, include more prayers for others and particularly for their spiritual needs. A priority prayer for Paul was the spiritual growth of those fro whom he prayed.
Both of these will help you take the focus off yourself, and when you are less self-absorbed, you are going to worry less, fear less, and be frustrated at fewer circumstances.
PRAYER: Dear God, I want you to be featured in my prayers more than me and my needs. I want your words and works to guide my heart to a better place of peace and of courage. O God, help me focus more on you and others and less on myself. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend some slow, steady time (I’d suggest 15 minutes) on the verses above, meditation on the prayers of Paul. Imagine that Paul is saying these prayers for you. If God responded positively to all of Paul’s requests, what would that mean for you?