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WHAT TO PRAY FOR
by Steve Klein from "Sound Doctrine" Volume III Issue ix

If you found the proverbial genie in a bottle, and you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for? Your answers to this fantasy are supposed to reveal a lot about you and your priorities. But a more realistic reflection of your true self may be seen in the kinds of requests you make to God everyday.

As Christians, we have found something better than a genie in a bottle. Genies are mythical, but God is real. Genies are limited in power, but God is almighty. Genies may limit our wishes, but God allows us to ask for anything that is in keeping with His will. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1st John 5:14-15).

While purely selfish requests are not going to be granted (James 4:3), virtually everything else in heaven and earth is available for the asking -- anything that is “according to His will”. So, if you are a child of God in tune with His will, for what will you pray? Here are some Bible suggestions:

Pray for your brethren:

That they would prosper and be in health. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3rd John 1:2). “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

That they would know God's will and be strong spiritually. “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12).

That love would abound. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9).

That they do no evil. “Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified” (2nd Corinthians 13:7).

That their sins might be forgiven. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Pray for evangelists:

That many laborers would be sent into the harvest. “Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Luke 10:2).

That they would speak God's word boldly. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19).

That God's word would be allowed have its full effect in men's lives. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you” (1st Thessalonians 5:25).

That they would live honorable lives, practicing what they preach and leading many to the Lord. “Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably” (Hebrews 13:18).

Pray for all men, especially those in government:

So that we might live peaceable and godly lives. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1st Timothy 2:1-2).

Pray for yourself:

That God would give you your “daily bread” and supply your physical necessities. “So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Luke 11:2-4).

That you would be forgiven (cf. Luke 11:2-4)

That you would not be led into temptation (cf. Luke 11:2-4)

That God would take care of the things that would cause you anxiety. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”(Philippians 4:6). “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1st Peter 5:7). As God's children, these are the kinds of things that we should want. Are these the things we're praying for?

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