- If God has commanded us to pray for something, we can be assured that it is His will. We can pray with assurance that He will accept and answer such a prayer as long as our life does not disqualify us in some way.
- To fail to pray for the issues that God has commanded us to pray for is not just a matter of neglect but of disobedience. As I said in my previous post, such an omission turns our prayer into sin.
- As we understand that "prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven but getting God's will done on earth," we value the guidance God gives us in what to pray for. He has not left it to us to figure out how to "help" Him. We can do it His way, not ours.
Here are the things we are to pray for with the Bible verses where they are found:
- Pray for workers: Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:38). We should not only pray for additional workers but also that the existing workers will have boldness (Ephesians 6:18-19) and that opportunities for speaking the gospel will be opened to them (Colossians 4:2-3).
- Pray for authorities: Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made ... for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1Timothy 2:1-2 with omission). This prayer has to do with creating a political and social climate that is conducive to the spread of the gospel and the safety of those who are bearing witness (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). For this reason, we should pray that world leaders will move the world toward peace, especially the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
- Pray for the lost: Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men ... For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4 emphasis added). Praying for the unsaved to come to Christ is necessary so that the word of the Lord may spread quickly and in a way that will bring glory to Him (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
- Pray for the sick: Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:16). This verse follows several others on praying for the sick, something we should do not only out of compassion but also for the impact healing can have for the spread of the gospel. Jesus said divine healing demonstrated His authority to forgive sin (Mark 2:10). He went everywhere preaching, teaching, and healing (Matthew 4:23; 9:35). Since His ministry continues (Acts 1:1; Hebrews 13:8) through us, why limit what we do to two of the three? Such praying must be more than the "organ recital" many of our churches go through in prayer meeting. It must be praying in faith and in the Spirit.
- Pray for enemies: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). This kind of praying is especially important for calibrating our heart to be "in sync" with the One who loved us and gave His life for us even while we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8, 10). Seeking good for those who wish us ill clearly demonstrates the reality of our relationship with the Father through Christ (Matthew 5:46-48). Our adversaries will find the ground for their opposition cut out from under them (1 Peter 3:14-16; 4:12-16).
Let us pray about the things that matter to our Creator, our Savior, and our Advocate. As we do, we can boldly present our own needs and cares in the confidence that since we have obeyed His commands and are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22) we will have what we ask.