Biblical Prayer Requests

This is an introduction to a new series of posts that I hope to update from time to time.  The purpose of these posts is to search the Scriptures to find biblical subjects that ought to be the object of the prayers of the saints.  My hope in these posts is to encourage each of us to be bold when we share our needs with one another in prayer and to be encouraged to honestly ask one another to pray for these pressing needs.

Often, when churches gather in prayer meetings or take requests from one another for prayers, we focus on needs of health, needs of finance, and needs of relationships.  These are certainly things that we ought to pray for in a Scriptural manner.  Our Lord told his disciples to ask for daily provision of physical things, such as our daily food. But it is very easy to focus mainly (or only) on requests for prayer from others for such things.

Our Lord also taught “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6.33).  We are encouraged by Jesus to seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and the physical needs are rather secondary in importance compared to this.

Now, please do not misunderstand me.  I am not saying that it is wrong, or even less spiritual, to request prayer for a loved one’s health or physical well-being.  We ought to share one anothers’ burdens for these things.

I just want to give encouragement to also be focused on expressing in prayer our desires to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  I think that in order to do so, we must be confronted with the fact that we need to change what we pray for, what we ask others to pray for, and the priority of praying for the spiritual needs of the Body of Christ.

I think one of the things to overcome is the simple tradition of the typical prayer request process.  It is very easy to go to almost any Church or prayer meeting and ask others to prayer for your relative who is sick.  It is even comfortable for many to ask others to prayer for a person’s salvation.  However, I have found that we do not have a good track record of speaking up during a time of prayer requests and expressing that you desire for all to pray for some of the manifold spiritual needs of yourself and the members of the Body of Christ.

A more serious issue may also be underlying our prayer requests.  Perhaps we are more concerned with physical needs than we are with our spiritual health.  Perhaps we are seeking first the things of this life and just hoping the things of the kingdom of God and His righteousness will just be added as we go our merry way.

Regardless of what is the root cause of the focus of our personal and corporate prayers, my hope is that through this series of posts, we will overcome the sin that easily entangles us and thirst for the Kingdom of God and boldly seek to pray in private, and with the saints for the things which bring honor and glory and dominion to the risen Lord Jesus. My hope is that we will learn and be convinced that we ought to search the Scriptures and pray together that God will help us seek the glory of God.

May God bless us with godly longings.  My His Spirit enable us and guide us to pray as we ought.

Click here to find posts in this series.

1 Comment

  1. David Arbogast

    Fri 19th Jun 2009 at 12:05 pm

    This continues to be an urgently important issue we need to resolve as a church. I can’t agree more: we should and ought to pray for our physical concerns. But, we seem as a rule to be singularly interested in making physical requests. It is possibly true that our prayer requests may reflect the things that are most important to us – our greatest concerns. The lack of kingdom-oriented requests in our meetings MAY reflect (I cannot know this, of course) a casual attitude in us toward Kingdom issues.

    This is why I believe that making a daily practice of the Lord’s Prayer is so critically important. There is a place for physical concerns in that prayer (“Give us this day our daily bread”), but there is mostly an emphasis on Kingdom issues: 1. The holiness and majesty of the King; 2. Issues involving the coming of the Kingdom; 3. The pursuit of obedience to the will of the King; 4. Forgiveness of transgressions against the Kingdom; 5. Preservation from transgressions against the Kingdom; 6. Protection from the evil ruler and kingdom of this world; 7. Praise to the King.

    I simply cannot understand why any believer would reject or ignore a daily practice of categorically praying the Lord’s Prayer everyday. It is a pattern for prayer given to us by our King to use – and He refers to those who hear his words and obey them as “wise builders”, so why wouldn’t we pray in that manner. What do we need that is not accommodated in that wonderful pattern for prayer?

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