What do we pray for when we pray? What prayer items make the top of the list? Do we get in a rut and pray the same things and with the same words over and over again? (I find myself doing this.)
It is important, especially when praying for others, to lift up urgent needs such as healing, employment, and the salvation of relatives. But sometimes our prayers can be just like reciting to-do lists, devoid of many other kinds of prayer items that we encounter in prayers of the Bible.
For this reason, it is helpful from time to time, to take a look at the prayers in the New Testament and see how they compare with our own prayers. The prayers we encounter in the New Testament show us that things that are really important to God should be important to us in our prayers as well. Praying Biblically is praying in accord with God’s will. This is the actual meaning of praying “in Jesus’ name”—praying for petitions for which Jesus would Himself pray.
It is an eye-opening study to examine the inspired prayers of Paul, John, and others as the Holy Spirit directed their hearts and minds to honor God with requests that serve as models of prayer for us today.
Effective prayer also requires a righteous life. James, in his short but power-packed and practical epistle, mentions that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:17). Life and prayer aligned together with the Bible make a difference in the world!
So, from time-to-time, I find myself needing a prayer “tune-up” and seek to calibrate my prayers by the examples in the New Testament. I encourage you to look up these passages alone or with others, observe their content, and meditate on them. May our prayers be a sweet fragrance to the Lord!
Prayer in the Epistles
1 Corinthians 1:4-5
2 Corinthians 13:7, 9
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
1 Timothy 6:17
1 Peter 1:3-5
Prayer in the Book of Revelation
Revelation 4:8, 11
Revelation 7:10, 12