The Holy Spirit and prayer in the letters of Paul

  • Jesse Stone

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


The present thesis is the first monograph-length study of the pneumatic prayers in the letters of Paul. Paul mentions three experiences where the spirit inspires prayer: the Abba cry (Gal 4.6; Rom 8.15–16), prayer in tongues (1 Cor 14.14–15), and the spirit’s intercession (Rom 8.26–27). While each of these passages has received substantial attention from previous generations of Pauline scholarship, their precise meaning and significance remain contested. Even more controversial is their potential relation to each other. This thesis aims to propose a taxonomy for these pneumatic prayers based on their shared descriptive features and common connections to other aspects of Paul’s theology. Descriptively, I argue that Paul describes pneumatic prayers as common and perceptible experiences of inspired speech for early Christians. Theologically, I contend that Paul believed pneumatic prayers signified the eschatological time in which believers live and bore witness to believers’ new glorified filial status as they participated in the prayers and worship of heavenly beings.
Date of Award29 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorN. T. Wright (Supervisor)


  • Holy Spirit
  • Paul
  • Biblical studies
  • New Testament
  • Prayer
  • Religious experience
  • Theology
  • Pneumatology
  • Romans
  • Galatians
  • 1 Corinthians

Access Status

  • Full text open

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