What Should We Pray For?
- Thursday, June 19, 2008
One way to answer this question is to look at what the early church prayed for. Here is a list gathered from the New Testament. It can guide you in how you pray. I suggest that periodically you pray through this list just to test whether your prayers are leaving out anything the New Testament included. We don't have to pray all of these each time we pray. But over time it would be good if our prayers had the breadth and depth of the New Testament prayers.
They called on God to exalt his name in the world.
Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Matthew 6:9).
They called on God to extend his kingdom in the world.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10 ).
They called on God that the gospel would run and triumph.
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
They called on God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13; cf. Ephesians 3:19).
They called on God to vindicate his people in their cause.
And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? (Luke 18:7).
They called on God to save unbelievers.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved (Romans 10:1).
They called on God to direct the use of the sword.
"Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying through all prayer and supplication on every occasion . . ." (Ephesians 6:17-18)
They called on God for boldness in proclamation.
Pray at all times in the Spirit . . . and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19)
And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness (Acts 4:29).
They called on God for signs and wonders.
And now Lord . . . grant your servants to speak thy word with boldness . . . while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:30).
Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit (James 5:17 -18).
They called on God for the healing of wounded comrades.
Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up (James 5:14-15).
They called on God for the healing of unbelievers.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery; and Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him (Acts 28:8).
They called on God for the casting out of demons.
And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer" (Mark 9:29)
They called on God for miraculous deliverances.
So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church . . . When he realized [he had been freed], he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying (Acts 12:5,12).
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