Thursday, January 22, 2015

What am I to Pray For?

As a young boy I was taught the importance of praying to God at meal time as well as before I would go to bed.  My prayers were  often quite simple and very selfish.  There is no doubt in my mind that God heard my prayers and I'm thankful that God loves us despite our selfishness and lack of understanding about the best things we could be praying for.

Over the years I have grown to understand that God desires us to come to Him in prayer for many other things as well:
  • To praise His great name
  • To seek forgiveness from Him
  • To seek understanding and direction
  • To petition Him for things that are dear to my heart
  • To express thanks to Him for all of the things He has done for me
  • To express my longing to be filled by Him alone
  • To share my hurt, pain, and confusion
  • To pray for His coming again
The apostle Paul, in Ephesians chapter 1, provides a few more things that we as believers could be praying for which are often forgotten.  Paul surfaces some things that are very near to the heart of God and they are things that God prizes.  Paul, by way of example, prayed for Christians that they would have the following things (Eph. 1:15-23):
  1.  A greater knowledge of Him.  What an amazing thing to pray for!  The more we understand the character of God the more we know how to process life and interact with others.  The more we know about God the better we understand how to pray and trust Him in difficult times.  This knowledge will transform our lives from the inside out!
  2. An understanding of the promises that God has made to us.  God has made many promises to those who believe in Him throughout Scripture.  These promises shape our perspective and give us hope.  They help us to understand what is important to God.  These promises help us to understand what the future brings.
  3. An understanding of God's immeasurable power.  Paul prayed that Christians would understand the character and power of their God.  The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available to us today!  The desire is that Christians do not live powerless when God desires to be their strength.
  4. An understanding of Christ's present position.  Christ reigns victoriously in heaven over everything!  He also reigns as head of His church (Maywood)!  The focus now and later is on Jesus Christ, the one we are to glorify.
We have so much we could be praying for and I believe Paul shared some of the greatest things that matter to the heart of God.  I pray that my prayer time would be marked by getting to know God more in order that I live, worship, serve, and pray differently.

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