Personal Prayer – Part 2

The Lord Jesus taught his followers to pray, Matt. 6. 9. He said that prayer, combined with carefully watching our behaviour, is the recipe for Christians avoiding falling into temptation, Matt. 26. 41.  Obeying the commands of the Lord Jesus brings glory to God and this should be a Christian’s desire.

Failing to pray is a serious mistake as we are at risk of trusting in something or someone else other than God. If we have difficulties or unhappiness in our lives we must pray to God for help. James said, ‘You do not have because you do not ask’, Jas. 4. 2, NKJV.

When we pass through times of crises we may feel that we no longer know what to do. This heightens our awareness of the need for God’s guidance. Elijah is a great example of someone who proved God in prayer, reminding us that ‘that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective’. Jas. 5. 16 NRSV. 

As the Lord Jesus faced the cross He prayed asking God for strength and help to do His Father’s will, Matt. 26. 39. If the Son of God prayed like this, how essential then that we should follow His example and pray for help in carrying out His will in our lives. 

What should we pray for?

There are many reasons to pray. Here is a sample list:

  • We should thank God for His great love in sending His Son to die for our sins. 
  • We should tell Him how much we appreciate Him and what He has done for us.
  • We can tell him what we have learned about Him as we read His word.
  • We must pray for ourselves, confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness for any wrongdoing in our lives, 1 John 1. 9. We should do this as often as possible as unconfessed sin will block our communication with God, Ps. 66. 18.
  • We should pray for wisdom, Jas. 1. 5
  • We must ask for strength to overcome our weak points and for help to stay out of temptation.
  • We can pray about particular things we are worried about and tell God about things we need.
  • We are instructed to pray for rulers and those who are in positions of authority; in the United Kingdom, this would include the Queen, the Prime Minister and his government, our local council and M.P., and our teachers or managers, 1. Tim. 2. 1, 2.
  • We should also pray for our enemies and those who hate us, Matt. 5. 44.
  • We should pray for all believers locally, in other assemblies and across the world, for missionaries and for those who preach the gospel, Eph. 6. 18, 19.

Pray for believers who are being persecuted, Heb. 13. 3, the sick, and those who are passing through difficulty.

We should pray for the unsaved, which may include friends and family, who are in the perilous position of not yet knowing the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, Rom. 10. 1.

The wonderful thing about prayer is that we can pray for anything, anywhere, anytime, and God will hear us. However, we should be careful that what we ask for is in accordance with God’s word. When we have big decisions to take we need to pray. Nehemiah prayed before taking a number of big decisions in his life, Neh. 1. 4, and God led and directed his choices; He can do the same for you today.

Expecting results when we pray

We should expect results when we pray, Matt. 21. 22; we can cast all of our care upon God remembering that He loves us and cares for us, 1. Pet. 5. 7. He has infinite power and wisdom and understands our every weakness. Our prayers should therefore be filled with faith and we must believe that if our request is in accordance with God’s will then He will answer our prayer, Mark 11. 24. We can be assured that even if His answer is not what we expected, or doesn’t come as quickly as we had hoped, we should never doubt that His answer will always be for our ultimate good, Rom. 8. 28.

So the question is: Are you growing closer to God through personal prayer?

‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God’ Phil. 4. 6 ESV.