When most people think of this question, they go to the Lord’d prayer because it gives us a model. All too often people fall into using the model as something to memorize and repeat. But Jesus was not giving us the words to pray or even the topics… He was giving us a model outline of how to pray.
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for what He has given you. Ask for what you are praying for. Praise Him again.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, but to believe that Jesus was providing us with some sort of perfect prayer content is to miss the point. His was a model. He didn’t say ‘pray with these words’, instead He said, “Pray then like this” (Matt 6:9a)
Even when we follow this model of praise, thanks, ask and praise again… people can get sidetracked with what they are asking for. So to help us out, Paul gave even further instructions of what kind of content we should include in the ask. Again, don’t think that Paul is saying that this is ALL we should pray for. But he is saying that we should regularly include this content in the “ask” portion of our prayer.
Just after talking about the Armor of God, Paul ends with talk about the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Then he tells us what we need to be regularly praying. “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak”
Let’s examine this prayer instruction. First of all he confirms the concept of praying without ceasing by telling us to pray at all times in the Spirit. But then he says that our requests need to be on behalf of the saints (the other believers). Still even more profound is what Paul is suggesting we pray for on behalf of the saints. Though he himself was in chains, he is not suggesting we pray for freedom. He’s not suggesting we pray for less trials or even for health. Paul does not guide us to pray for wellness in any way.
Paul says to pray for the saints and for him that the right words are given to boldly proclaim the gospel. Imagine if every time you received a prayer request from another saint, you followed through but added these words to that prayer… “And Father, no matter how you respond to the physical or emotional needs of this person right now, above all else, I pray you give them the right words to boldly proclaim your gospel. Guide them to use their current situation to minister to others and share your Good News.”
So I stand with Paul, in asking you to include this in your prayers. It’s fine to pray for all of the earthly things we often pray for, but praying for the words to proclaim a gospel message that is eternal, now that’s prayer.
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