Three Things That we Should Pray For..
Hopefully, you are in the habit of praying every day. Hopefully, you’re in the habit of praying several times every day. But what I want to talk about today, isn’t how often we pray, but rather, what we pray FOR.
I’d like to suggest that three of the things we need to pray for, are our eyes, and our ears, and our mouth. There’s a little saying that I heard, and I think it’s worth repeating. Maybe there have been variations of this saying, but here’s how I’m going to say it; We should pray for eyes that see the good in everyone, and for ears that hear only what’s needful, and for a mouth that speaks the truth in love.
Philippians 4, verse 8 instructs us with these words; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Now apply that verse to how we look at others. And let your eyes see, those things about others that are true, and honorable, and just, and pure, and lovely, and things that are of good report. Don’t consider the faults of others, but rather, pray for eyes, that will see the good.
Next, Jesus said, in Mark 4, verse 9; “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Of course Jesus was speaking about hearing the word of God, and not closing your ears to the truth. Our ears need to be open to the truth, and we need to be listening for what’s “needful”. When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words, Jesus said, in Luke 10, verse 4; “But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Let’s pray that our ears will choose “the good portion” of what there is out there, to hear.
Next, the scripture says in Ephesians 4:15; “But speaking the truth in love, may we grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” And verse 29 says; “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” May we pray for mouths, that honor the word of God, and that honor one another.
And while we’re praying, maybe we should pray for our heart. Maybe we should also pray for a heart that loves. Just like we read about in 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 thu 7. Maybe we should pray for a hear that “..is patient and kind; And one that “does not envy or boast”; One that’s “not arrogant, and does not act unbecomingly:” A heart that “does not seek its own, that is not provoked, and that does not take into account a wrong suffered.” A hear that “takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth.” A hear that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
That’s what a loving heart does. Do you think that’s something worth praying for? Should we pray for our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts? I think we probably should.
Jesus gives us a good example of what we should pray for, in Mathew 6, verses 5 thru 13. In those verses, He gives us an example of several things that we should pray for, every day. In this passage, Jesus tells us HOW to pray, and He tells us WHAT to pray for. And while this example isn’t an “all-inclusive” teaching, about how to pray, and about what to pray for, I’m sure it can serve as the foundation, for our prayers.
So then let’s read.. Mathew 6:5 thru 13; “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Jesus is clearly implying here, that there IS a reward to be gained, from praying. We might not receive the exact thing that we’re praying for, right here and now, but Jesus is definitely telling us there IS a reward to be gained.
The next verse says it clearly.. “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” Your Father WILL reward you! There’s no doubt about it! Will we always receive exactly what we ask for? No we won’t. And one reason why we won’t, is because we don’t always ask for the right things. We don’t ask for what’s best for us, because we don’t even KNOW what’s best for us. And God isn’t going to give His children, anything less than the best; Anything less, than what we need.
Romans 8, verse 26 states that very fact. That verse says; “..For we do not know what to pray for, as we ought..” But God knows, and God rewards us, with exactly what we need! That’s what the rest of that verse tells us. It says; “..but the Spirit Himself makes intercession, with inexpressible groanings.” In other words, with compassion so great, that words can’t even express it! And we’re told in the next verse; “..because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to the will of God.”
We don’t know what we really should be asking for, SO, the Spirit of God makes intercession for us, “according to the will of God”. In other words, The Spirit gives us what God wants us to have, and what we truly need. That’s a part of the providence of God, for Christians.
But let’s get back to Mathew chapter 6, verses 7 & 8; “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” The phrase “the gentiles” refers to people who are NOT God’s children. People who don’t have the benefit, of knowing God’s will.
“Therefore, do not be like them; For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” And the Spirit is going to give you what you need. Just as Romans 8:26 promises us.
And now, in Mathew 6, beginning with verse 9, Jesus is going to give us the “foundation” of what we should pray for; “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name!” Our prayers need to be addressed, to the Father, in heaven. The Father who “sees in secret”; The Father who “rewards openly”; The Father who already knows what we need, even before we can ask for it, and who knows what we need, even when we don’t!
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Verse 9 says. But we should realize of course, that we need to make a little adjustment here, as to the words, “Thy kingdom come”. It would be quite useless to pray for the kingdom to come, when the kingdom has already come, almost 2,000 years ago!
And so how might we re-phrase that part? We could pray that the GOSPEL of the kingdom, might come to ALL people, in ALL parts of the world, by the gospel being preached, in all parts of the world. Or we might pray that the kingdom “would come” to those who aren’t already members of the kingdom. But of course the only way that the kingdom can “come to” anyone, is for them to HEAR the “gospel of the kingdom”, and to OBEY “the gospel of the kingdom”, so that God would ADD them, to His kingdom.
And as Christians, we’re all supposed to have an active part in enabling people to at least “HEAR” the gospel. It will be up to them whether or not they obey what the gospel command us to do. But it’s up to Christians, and ONLY Christians, to enable everyone else, to “HEAR” the gospel of the kingdom.
Listen to the words of Romans 10, verses 12 thru 15; “For there is no difference between Jew and Greek; For the same Lord of all, is rich toward all those calling Him.” How do you “call on the Lord”? Do you simply call out His name? Is that how you “call on the Lord” to save you? No, not quite. To “call on the Lord”, or to “call on the name of the Lord” means to call on the Lord’s authority, and to call on His power, and to invoke the Lord’s help, in saving us from our sin. The Lord definitely has both the power and the authority to save us; But we’ve got to “address” the Lord, in such a way that He will use that power and authority, for our own benefit.
And how do you do that? Well, first you need to come to KNOW what the Lord requires of us, in order to be forgiven of sin, and to be “saved” from it’s consequences, and then you need to actually DO what the Lord requires you to do. In other words, you must OBEY the Lord’s commands. “Calling on the Lord” isn’t quite as simple as simply calling out His name, and then sitting back and waiting for Him to save you.
But let’s listen to the rest of that passage from Romans 10. I’ll begin again from verse 12.. “For there is no difference between Jew and Greek; For the same Lord of all, is rich toward all those calling Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Everyone who hears, and learns, and believes, and obeys, will be saved. That’s a promise from God!) How then will they call on Him, in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him, of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear, without proclaiming?” (without someone preaching the gospel of the kingdom?) That’s the job of EVERY Christian, throughout their entire Christian life!
Not preaching from a pulpit; But preaching with your lifestyle; And preaching with your words; The words spoken to your friends, and your neighbors, and your acquaintances, and your co-workers.
“And how are they to preach, unless they are sent? As it is written; How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (the gospel) Believe me, we’re ALL sent, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Just like it says in Acts 8, verse 4; “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”
Christians are indeed scattered throughout the whole world, and we’ve been sent to do a job. We need to proclaim the gospel, and we need to pray for the kingdom, to become a reality, for the people of the world.
And here’s another thing that Jesus taught us to pray for; Mathew 6, verse 10 says; “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” We’re told in 1 Timothy 2, verse 4, that God.. “..desires all men to be saved, (all people) and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Are we not to desire the same?
Now verse 11; “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus doesn’t tell us to pray for such an abundance, that we sit back and say to our selves.. “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; Take your ease; Eat, drink, and be merry.” The scriptures refer to that man, as “thou fool!” (Luke 12, verse 20) Jesus doesn’t want us to pray foolishly. But instead, He wants us to be humble, and trusting, and pray, saying; “Give us this day, our DAILY bread.”
If God gave you today, everything you needed, for the rest of your life, how would that affect your daily reliance on God? Would we still look to God for everything? Or would we maybe “take our ease”, and “eat drink and be merry”?
Verse 12 is certainly something that we all need to remember; “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” In other words; “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”
As Jesus said in verse 15; “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
And one more verse that we need to remember.. Verse 13; “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” And God will deliver us, if we remain faithful to Him. And so in closing, Pray for eyes, and ears, and mouths, and hearts, that won’t “lead you into temptation”, but that will remain faithful to God, until your life here is over.