What to Pray For

September 21, 2007 at 20:05 Leave a comment

In today’s church we are encouraged to take all of our problems to God no matter how small. There is a danger in this approach.  If you study prayer and Jesus’ instructions on how to pray in the Bible you won’t find a whole lot about praying for that new promotion at work, or winning the lottery, or getting that new house you’ve always wanted.  Jesus spoke of prayer specifically in Matthew 6:5-21:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus gave us some very specific guidelines here.  Pray in private to your Father that is in heaven, not for the benefit of those around you.  It is very easy for public orations to take flight when someone is supposedly addressing God.   A key phrase in this passage is that God already knows what we have need of.  If you are one of His you don’t have to ask for financial help or to get all the worldly stuff that you’re just sure you’d use for the glory of God’s kingdom.  Pray for spiritual things and God will provide what you need in this world without asking.  And very importantly forgive those who trespass against you or God will not forgive you of your trespasses (Matthew 18:21-35).  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:28-34).  We can be like children asking for candy and to stay up late and for all the things we wouldn’t give our own children because we know it’s not good for them or we can ask God for the kind of help we really need.  To get closer to Him in a world that hated His prophets and His son and will hate us as we become more like Him.

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Entry filed under: Christianity.

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