Ok… so the title (a take-off on the old Sinatra classic “My Way”) doesn’t really work. But, oh well.
Recently, as we were praying with the church, I started thinking about scriptural examples of prayer. (I’ve found that it is often disconcerting to think about scriptural examples of anything… disconcerting, but powerful and life-changing as well.)
When the NT authors talked about praying (or even wrote their prayers for their readers), what did they pray for? When they asked for prayer, what did they ask their readers to pray? When Luke records the church praying in Acts, for what were they praying?
Here are a few things the church prayed for in the New Testament:
The church prayed…
… for God to reveal his will concerning a decision between Matthias and Joseph (Acts 1:24)
… that they would continue to proclaim the gospel with boldness in spite of persecution (Acts 4:29)
… for people to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15)
… for Peter to be released from prison (Acts 12:12)
… to send people to proclaim the gospel in other parts of the world (Acts 13:3)
… that Paul would be able to go to Rome (Romans 1:10)
… that God would grant wisdom, knowledge, enlightenment, and power (Ephesians 1:16-19)
… that the church’s love would grow (Philippians 1:9)
… that the believers would live righteous lives (doing righteous deeds) that glorify God (Philippians 1:11)
… that the church would know God’s will so that they can do good deeds that honor God (Colossians 1:9-10)
There are many others. (Actually, when the NT writers speak of prayer, they usually do not list the content of the prayer, but simply say something like, “Pray continuously,” or “Pray fervently.”)
But, even this short list shows that my prayers are vastly different from the prayers of the believers recorded in Scripture.
I think it’s time that I think about what I’m praying for.