One of the aspects that should truly set God’s people apart should be our prayers, specifically the unique aspects of prayer that may not be recognized or practiced by other religious adherents. Historically, people have prayed for millennia, yet Yeshua distinguishes the practice of prayer by God’s people through being extremely specific about what believers should pray for, and how to pray.
While not an exhaustive list of prayer, the following points are comprehensive in the main ideals put forth throughout the New Testament teachings that should stand behind our regular communication with God.
First and foremost in the narrative, believers should pray for persecutors.
Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Luke 6:28 “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Prayer is then identified as a private matter between the individual and God.
Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Prayer should be concise and specific.
Matthew 6:7 “When you pray, don’t babble like the nations, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. …
From Matthew 6:9-15, Yeshua teaches us that private prayer should include the following points:
- For God to be recognized as the one true God.
- That his kingdom would become evident on the earth
- For personal daily provision
- For forgiveness based on our forgiveness of others
- For deliverance from being led astray
Other types of communal prayer are listed, as we are also encouraged to pray with like-minded believers.
Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
James 5:16 …confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.
We are to pray continually.
Luke 18:1 Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.
Ephesians 6:18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray constantly,
We are to pray guided by the Spirit of God and with full assurance of faith.
Romans 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing praise with the spirit, and I will also sing praise with my understanding.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for – believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
Personal and communal prayer should be the distinctives that set God’s people apart from other religious groups in the world. We have been given very specific motives and process on why and how to pray, and yet most of us struggle with doing so. For me personally, I am usually so busy trying to solve my own problems throughout each day that I get lost in the blur of activity and don’t stop to involve God in my process, or to involve myself in praying for others. I find it more natural to think about God and about the Bible than I do to actually participate with him and invite him into my situations for his purpose and plan to be enacted in tangible ways.
Following the command to intercede for all the saints, my prayer for believers everywhere is that we may all learn how to be more obedient and faithful in this practice that sets us apart. If you join with me in that prayer, we are agreeing in faith that this can be so, and God will be glorified through our faith and unity.
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