Thus far we've have explored Why We Need to Pray and how the apostle Paul prayed in Paul's Prayers. I have also shared article on How To Pray.
In this article we're going to explore the kinds of things that we, as members of the body of Christ are to pray for.
First let's review a few of the faith basics regarding prayer:
We are not trying to earn favor with God through our prayers (that is practicing 'religion'), nor do we pray to try to invoke God to the power of 'working wonders' in our lives.
Prayer should be regarded as an intimate and treasured daily spiritual practice to the Christian, the same way that reading the Bible, Bible study, doing good works unto the glory of God, sharing the gospel of grace and providing for our families, etc. are.
Praying works on us causing us to understand and care about God's will for both us and the world.
I break prayer down into these four categories:
Let's look at each of these:
1. Prayer of Request:
There are going to be many times when we want to ask God for something. In our doing so it is important for us to remember that our request of God is just that, a request and not a right that is bestowed upon us.
We can certainly ask for what we want, and we should, but it may not be in God's will to answer our request the way that we want him to or maybe even at all.
Paul prayed asking for his thorn in the flesh - the messenger of Satan - to be removed. Did God answer that prayer request by doing what Paul asked?
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 - "8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
I love here how, rather than complaining or feeling sorry for himself, Paul gets it. He understands what God has told him - that his grace is sufficient and he glories so the power of Christ will rest upon him. Beautiful!
Jesus Christ prayed asking God that this cup - his torture and crucifixion - might pass from him.
Matthew 26:39 - "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
We all know how that turned out.
God's will and only God's will was done.
Much of the time, especially in the wealthier more materially stable parts of the world, prayer requests involve matters of a material and worldly nature.
As members of the body of Christ there are more important things that we can (and should) set our sights on than just our wish lists of worldly and material concerns. We can pray to God about these things, of course, however we need to keep them in the proper perspective.
Which means we must learn to pray with understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:15 - "15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:"
We deepen our understanding by grounding our faith in Biblical doctrine. In doing this we come to know more about God, his will and his purpose then bring our prayer requests in line with God's will and purpose for us.
The other reality is that we really don't know what we should pray for:
Romans 8:26 - "...for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
So... the Holy Spirit will be praying for what we ought to be praying for but know not.
Growing and maturing in Christ means putting our worldy wish lists off to the side much of the time, and endeavoring to know God better thereby bringing what we pray for in line with what the Holy Spirit will be praying for on our behalf.
That is a powerful prayer combination!
What does mature prayer look like? What kinds of things can we ask for that are in line with God's will for us?
Asking God for:
When praying for ourselves:
When praying for others:
2. Prayer of thanksgiving:
Praying in thanksgiving is absolutely praying the will of God:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
We need to give thanks IN (not FOR) everything in our lives both in the now and in our future life with God in heaven. I recommend doing a study of the words IN and FOR to see the difference and why IN is the word God chose for this scripture.
Our God is unbelievably thankworthy:
Romans 1:21 - "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
Colossians 3:17 - "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
Every time we pray we need to remember to thank God for everything he has done for us, thank him for his word, and for the mystery of the glory of Christ revealed.
3. Prayer of Worship:
Our Lord and Savior paid an incomprehensible price for our salvation and it is the will of God that we, therefore worship him:
Philippians 2:9-11 -"9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father."
Here is but one example of the way Paul prayed in worship:
Romans 11:33-36 - "33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
4. Prayer of just talking things over with God:
Prayer is our way of having a conversation with God.
Just as Jesus Christ did when he would retreat to a private place and pray to his Father in heaven, we can do the same and simply talk to our Father in heaven about whatever is on our minds and on our hearts whatever those things might be.
We need not be reluctant to bring our concerns, desires and thoughts to God. We can and should ask in faith that everything is in his hands and we will accept and receive his answer even when it's a no.
There is no one else other than our God that can give us the comfort and peace that we seek when things are challenging or difficult.
Circumstances may not change the way we'd like them to, but, as Paul discovered, God's grace is absolutely sufficient and it is in our weakness that the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ truly lies.
So go ahead, pray. Talk to God. Share with him all that is on your heart.
1Thessalonians 5:16 - "Pray without ceasing."
1 Timothy 2:8 - "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."
Philemon 1:4 - "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers"
It is my hope and prayer that this article edifies you.
Hi, I'm Clare!
I used to be a practicing psychic medium, mediumship teacher and new age blogger. That all changed when I was saved by grace through faith in Christ. Here is where I share the joy and freedom of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.