Let’s stop praying, shall we, unless we are going to pray Biblically! What do I mean? Those of us in ‘non-liturgical’ churches often pray ‘whatever comes to mind,’ whenever we are invited to lead in prayer. Do we have any plan? Do we follow the Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication model that was developed by a prayer-mobilizer? Do we simply ‘rattle on’ with random requests as if we were drawing diverse sentences short and long out of a bucket and reading them aloud?
I recall one of the first ‘prayer meetings’ I attended after I was baptized at the age of twelve. I was nervous and found it difficult to concentrate as some of the senior saints rambled on covering chunks of biblical history, at times out of sequence, and interspersed with brief interjections of petition. When it was my ‘turn,’ I prayed a short prayer of blessing on 2 or 3 missionaries I knew, asked for God’s help to obey Jesus Christ, thanked Him for His care and said ‘Amen.’ Whew! I’d done it, but why didn’t more of the congregation seek to teach me to pray?
My brother-in-law, Tim Kerr, has compiled an excellent text, entitled “Take Words With You,” a book deliberately targetted at strengthening our prayer lives. I commend it to you along with PrayerMate, a great app, for organizing yourself as you prepare to pray.
In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul writes out his prayer for the entire church. He includes thanksgiving, petition, worship as he draws us into the presence of God to gaze upon Jesus Christ, the resurrected reigning ruler of all things.
v.15 Paul acknowledges their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and their love for all the saints. Love for God shows up in love for God’s children. The two are inseparable. We will never grow stronger in our love for God than our obedience to Him and love for His family. His true family is NOT divided. We have broken unity, at times for trivial reasons, and have destroyed the ‘greatest apologetic’ which Jesus indicated we would demonstrate before ‘all men.’ (John 13:34-35)
v.16 Be specific as you pray. Pray thankfully and lift up those God brings to mind. Let others know you are praying for them. Follow the promptings of God’s Spirit and intercede as He directs! Many saints have experienced God’s wake-up call to plead for other members of the family of God who at that very moment needed wisdom, protection, guidance and comfort.
v.17 Be accurate as you pray. I’ve heard MANY people thank the Father for dieing on the cross. HE DIDN’T, no matter how many times you thnk Him. The FATHER sent the SON to be the Saviour. Be precise in your theology. Quote Scripture or even read it back to God as you acknowledge HIM for who He is!
Why not take a block of time, right now, and pray?
a) Confess your faith in Jesus Christ; b) Express your love for His people – the ‘saints’ and ask Him for a deeper love; c) List 10 people who need God’s help and pray God’s promises for them. e.g. LORD GOD, you are Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD our provider. Please provide for my sister ______ in the hospital in ______ who needs your healing touch, your peace, your comfort. Provide for her husband and her family……