What should we pray for?
Prayer is a wonderful tool in the Christian’s arsenal. Through prayer, believers can bring requests to the Creator of the universe. Through the blood of Christ, we now have access to God (Heb. 10:19-20). Is God able to answer my requests? Is He able to make a difference? Proverbs provides an answer to these questions. “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). Isaiah also reassures us by writing: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isa. 46:9-10).
Even the book of Daniel contains the profession of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar that God is the sovereign ruler (Dan. 4:34-37).
Knowing that there is an all-powerful God and believing that He can answer our requests might prompt one to ask: “if God is sovereign, then why pray?” “If God is truly all powerful, all wise, and all knowing, why then does He need me to pray?” Please note that strong belief in the sovereignty of God does not remove the need for prayer. If the Lord Jesus Christ knelt in prayer, we should do no less than follow this example.
If one believes in the sovereignty of God and holds to the necessity of prayer, what should this person pray for? Many of the prayers of believers consist of temporal needs. In the light of eternity, most of these needs will be of little importance. An example of what believers should pray for is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.
First, believers should pray for worthiness (“that our God would count you worthy of this calling”). While salvation cannot be earned, Christians are expected to live a life pleasing to God (Eph. 4:1-3). Paul prays that these believers might act in a way worthy to be called a Christian. Second, believers should pray for fulfillment (“fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness”). The fulfillment of our self-centered dreams is not what the writer intends here. This passage relates to the believer giving glory to God and fulfilling desires to honor God. Third, believers should pray for service (“the work of faith with power”). This involves living out your faith by God’s enabling power. Each one of these areas mentioned involve living for God.
Look back over your recent prayers to God. How many of these requests involved living for God versus God doing something for you?