Paul’s Prayers

Q.  In the Bible, I have not found one occasion when Paul prayed directly to God.  He was always relating how and what he has prayed for.  Why did Paul always pray alone in secret? Is it because he didn’t want to be identified with the Pharisees?

A. There are many passages in Paul’s epistles in which he prayed for others, the church, and for himself. It’s just that unlike Jesus’ prayers in the Gospels narrated by the four evangelists in the third person, the epistles are written by Paul himself in the first person, and he had not recorded his prayers to God directly.

I don’t think this is because Paul did not want to be identified with the Pharisees. In Php 3:4-5

  • although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;

he was not ashamed to be a Pharisee. Many people equate Pharisees to hypocrites. While this was true in most cases, there are exceptions. Paul was one, Nicodemus was another.

One possibility why Paul refrained from recording his prayers could be the Lord’s instructions in Mt 6:5-6

  • When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The hypocrites pray in public to be seen by men. The Lord wants His disciples to be seen by God, not men, hence Paul’s practice. That’s my conjecture, not stated in Scripture.

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