What Should I Be Praying For?
Have you ever wondered what you should be including in your prayers? Maybe you tend to pray just moment by moment or maybe you make intentional effort to spend some "time" in prayer daily. No matter where you are at on the spectrum, let's take a look at what we're to be praying for.
Scripture gives us a prayer guide in Matthew 6:9-13.
9 “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
God's Authority and Character
In these scriptures, Jesus is specifically teaching us about what to pray for. In verse nine, Jesus is asking us to remember the character of our Heavenly Father, the God of scripture. The words in this verse bring up God's holiness, power, authority, and position. It is good for us to remember that in prayer, we are to make it a priority to give glory, honor, and praise to the Lord for His position and character.
Verse 10 moves us to think about the consistency of God's character and our view of the end of life and end times. Jesus is saying that God will have His way in heaven and on earth. Do you believe that? Are you submitting yourself to that through prayer? Are you taking time to position yourself under the authority of God for the end times?
Needs vs. Wants
Verse 11 brings about a shift. The focus turns from externally focusing on God, His character and His will to our personal wants and needs. When Jesus says "our daily bread," it has always made me think more of my needs than my wants. I still talk to my Heavenly Father about my wants. I believe He loves me and loves to hear about those requests from me, but I also try to keep needs vs. wants in perspective as I pray with Him. What would it look like for you to keep that in perspective in your prayer life?
Confession of Sins
If we've trusted in Jesus' life, death and resurrection for our salvation (1 John 1:9), then our hearts and souls are eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13). Even still, our hearts are going to need to be recalibrated unto Him on a continual basis, and this happens through confession and repentance. Acts 3:19 says it like this: “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” When we sin, there needs to be the acknowledgment of that on our end and we need to communicate that to the Lord so that our hearts can experience continual restoration and refreshing with the Lord. Doesn't it sound sweet to be able to experience that with the Lord on a continual basis through prayer?
Lastly, in verse 13, Jesus instructs us to pray for spiritual protection and help to overcome temptation. In John 16:33, Jesus warns us that this life will be hard. And the God of scripture makes it clear that there are spiritual forces and evils in the world that will try to derail us (Ephesians 6:10-18, 1 Peter 5:8). So instead of having to always act defensively, we can take an offensive position through prayer. Isn't that so much more hopeful?
I hope these prayer instructions from Jesus are encouraging to your soul. Practice them today and enjoy incorporating these elements into your prayer life!