The trouble with prayer

Had an interesting discussion with someone today re. the church prayer meeting. Not just that of any specific church – just the prayer meeting in general. One of my observations was that most churches tend to struggle with the prayer meeting. The second observation was that there are exceptions: some of my Pentecostal friends experience real fiery and well attended meetings.

I admire that. But, often the focus would be on people coming with needs for healing/deliverance/etc. It smacked as being a little ‘consumer-driven’.  Is not that the very reason the rest of the churches struggle to attract attendees? Because they don’t ‘get anything’ from it….

Now I shift the focus on myself. I often wonder whether my content and focus in prayer is the right one….

I came across this on Randy Alcorn’s blog and I will try to explore it further:

Here’s a partial list of things the New Testament tells us to pray for:

Pray for people who give you a hard time (Matthew 5:43-44;Luke 6:28)

Pray for children (Matthew 19:13)

Pray for strength to endure difficult times (Luke 21:36)

Pray you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)

Pray for all Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:18)

Pray that God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done (Matthew 6:10)

Pray God will provide your daily needs (Matthew 6:11)

Pray for God’s forgiveness as we forgive others (Matthew 6:12)

Pray we will not be led into temptation, but delivered from evil (Matthew 6:13)

Pray for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and for God to do miracles in people’s lives (Acts 4:29-31)

Pray all the time, be alert, pray for fellow believers (Ephesians 6:18)

Pray for fearless teaching of the Word (Ephesians 6:20)

Pray to be filled with the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9)

Pray for open doors for the gospel (Colossians 4:3)

Pray that the Word of God may be glorified (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

Pray for deliverance from evil men (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

Pray for everyone, government leaders, peace, quiet, godliness, holiness (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

Pray for sinners to find life in Christ (1 John 5:16)

Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5)

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3 thoughts on “The trouble with prayer

  1. Good points.

    I heard Don Carson speak at the EMA on prayer and I think what he said resonates well with this. His last message there was about how can we improve our praying and he gave some suggestions:

    Prayer steeped in the Word of God – Nehemiah 9 as an example. By which he meant not superficial of scripture but a lifetime of learning scripture so that it flows out.

    Prayer steeped in Biblical theology – again Nehemiah 9 as it follows the biblical story, but also the prayers of Moses in Exodus 32, 33 & 34. Look at the overarching themes of the Bible and pray for those.

    Prayer steeped in Biblical priorities – use passages of scripture (such as you’ve listed I think he meant) and remember also the Biblical priority is for redemption of God’s people (Ephesians 3:14 – he links the “for this reason” of Paul’s prayer back to chapters 1&2 which are about God’s redemptive purpose of building his new community) and the glory of God (Ephesians 3:21).

    Prayer that acknowledges ignorance of the mind of God – Romans 8 reminds us of our weakness and our need for the Spirit to intercede on our behalf.

  2. Aye – you don’t think I’d be able to remember that do you! If I get time, remember and can be bothered I’ll type them up and email you.

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