Q40: What should we pray?
A: The whole Word of God directs and inspires us in what we should pray, including the prayer Jesus himself taught us. (Crossway 2017)
Ephesians 3:14-21 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
God loves us so much that he not only makes the way for us to know Him and be in a personal relationship with Him, He also gives us both the direction and inspiration we need to make the most of this relationship. The Bible, His Word, is a guide and resource for every part of our lives and our faith. It directs us in how we are to think, believe, love, act and even how we are to pray. It also inspires us to believe and trust in the power of prayer and the difference it can make in our lives. Let’s take a deeper look at these things.
The Bible Directs Us: We can look all throughout the Scriptures and see how people prayed, what they prayed for, and the heart of their prayers. We can see how they approached God, how they sought His help, and how they responded when He worked. We can see the authenticity and transparency with which they poured out their hearts to Him. All of this is a guide for our prayers. Not sure what to pray for? Go to the Psalms and pray what David prayed. Not sure how to pray, read and study the prayer of Jesus. How should we respond when God answers prayer? Look at the many examples of how people praised God in these moments.
The Bible Inspires Us: The Bible also inspires us to pray and believe in the power of prayer. It reveals to us the nature and character of God. The Bibles shows us how He worked and still can work through prayer. We see through the lives of people just like us, the difference prayer can make. We see how God’s timing and ways are perfect, even when they are different than our own. We see that God always answers prayer, even if the answer is no or not now. Seeing these things in the lives of people is inspiring. It helps us to believe that there truly is power in and through our prayers. All of this is an example of God’s loving kindness to us.
- Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (ESV)
- 1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (ESV)
- Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (ESV)
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
Through Scripture we not only see how prayer can change our lives, we see how the prayers we pray can change the lives of others as well. In the same way that the Bible both directs and inspires our personal prayers, it also directs us and inspires us as we pray for those around us. Not only do we see Jesus praying for himself, we see him praying for others. Not only does Paul ask God to work in and through his life, we see him praying for those around him as well. Imperative in this is the teaching we find to pray for others. We should never underestimate the value and power of taking time to pray for those around us. It is one of the important things we can do to love and serve others well.
- John 17:1-26 “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said…” (ESV)
- Philippians 1:9 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment…” (ESV)
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
Have you ever struggled trying to figure out how something was supposed to work or be built? It might have been a toy for a child, a new piece of build-it-yourself furniture, or electronic gadget of some kind. You had a task in front of you, but you were unsure of what to do next. What did you do? Many of us would turn to the instruction manual, Google, or YouTube for help. Why? Instructions bring clarity. They give us direction and the inspiration we need to do what we are intending. But instructions are only beneficial if we turn to them, read them, understand them, and apply them.
How can we put this week’s truth into action when it comes to the Bible and prayer? We need to do the exact same things listed above. Want to know how and what we should pray? We need to turn to Scripture as our direction and inspiration. We need to read what the Bible says and ask God to help us understand how to apply this to our lives. We need to not just listen to the Word of God but also do something about it. God has given us his guide to prayer, the Bible. In it, we can find the direction and inspiration we need to experience the power of prayer and what it means to our lives and our relationship with Jesus. Will you turn to the Bible this week when you need guidance? Will you look for what God’s Word teaches us about prayer, what we should pray, and how? May we make the most of the gift of God’s Word and let it change our lives!
- Psalm 119:105 “ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (ESV)
- James 5:13-18 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.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. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (ESV)