How important is prayer & what should I pray for?
My goal in writing this letter today is to show from the Bible how important prayer is both to our spiritual lives and to God's ears. Here are some examples of just a few of the ways in which we are commanded to use prayer and some guidelines of how we ought to pray. As we both learn about prayer, I encourage you to...yes, pray and ask God to help you apply what He reveals to you through scripture. I will too! :P
Do not restrict yourself to only pray at certain times of the day. Pray always.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life.
Wherever you are and no matter what is happening, you can pray to God. Prayer and praise go together.
Save me, O God, by Your name and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
Only God gives salvation and deliverance. Put your cares in God's hands. Notice that David doesn't praise God first as he often does because of his distressed spirit.
O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come. Psalm 65:2
God answers prayer at the appropriate time, does what is best for us and provides for us.
...prayer also will be made for Him continually...daily He shall be praised. Psalm 72:5
Jesus makes intercession to the Father for us and prays that we may be blessed with God's grace.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thus with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18
Pray for your Christian brothers and sisters that God would give them their daily bread.
Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44b
In the Bible, we are told to love our enemies. Part of loving them is caring enough to see their need of Christ, being ready to share the gospel with them and praying that God would reveal Himself to them.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray...that they may be seen by men. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. Matthew 6:5-7a
I would encourage you to be cautious and try to remember these verses especially when you are in public. Now don't get me wrong though. God can use you praying for your meal in public to open a door to share the gospel. Just be wise and don't pray in front of people out of pride thinking that you are better than them because you bless your food before you eat it. I will also work on this one. I haven't quite thought about it in this way before, I must confess.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22
I think this is about as clear as it can get.
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
Make sure you resolve issues quickly. God has worked on me with this for many years and continues to. If you are having trouble forgiving others or making effort to resolve issues, pray and ask God to change your heart and equip you to see as He sees.
Bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you. Luke 6:28
This is a hard thing to do, but God can work through you to help others and strengthen your character at the same time.
Then He said to them...“pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2b
I often pray that God will bring revival in our nation and around the world. Also, that He would raise up godly young and older men and women to share the gospel in the areas around them as well as abroad as missionaries.
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8
When I found this parable today, I didn't remember reading it at all. I wonder why it isn't among the more well-known parables that people recite off the top of their head? It has a message that needs to be heard and shared just as much as the others.
When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40
Do you pray that God will deliver you from the evil one and help you resist temptation?
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—John 14:16
We must pray that God fills us with His Holy Spirit. We also need to make effort to draw near to God that we may feel His presence within us to guide us.
I also want to encourage you to remember your church's missionaries and any missionary friends that you have to pray for them. They have a hard job living in a different culture and striving to be examples of Christ in all areas of their lives. You can imagine how close the population watches Christian families to see if they practice what they preach.
As you pray for your own missionaries, here are some topics to consider:
~Relationships with family, team, those to whom they minister
~Faithfulness, perseverance, energy and vision
~Personal holiness and spiritual growth
~Protection (health, safety, Satan's attacks)
~New workers -Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Matthew 9:38
Please also remember the cries of persecuted believers around the world and lift them up. For their safety, some missionaries who work where there is great opposition to the gospel, rarely publicize their needs. But they yearn for your prayers. Ask God to use them in the strategic places where He has placed them and to protect their families.
Keep praying---don't stop.
Through prayer, God can awaken or develop a passion for missions in yourself or others around you.
God works...through the prayers of His people. “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” D.L. Moody
The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138:8
Your praying sister in Christ,
Italicized missionary contributions from a Mission to the World pamphlet titled 30 Days of Prayer
Exposition of scripture based on John Gill's Exposition of the Bible