What Shall We Pray For?




What Should We Pray For?


Have you ever asked yourself that question?  What does God want me to pray for?  Well, God does indeed tell us some of the things that He would have us pray for.  For example, Jesus gave us a sample prayer, in  Mathew 6:9 thru 13.  It’s commonly called “the Lord’s prayer”, and what it is, is a “model” of what a proper prayer should be like.  And in this “model” prayer, Jesus mentions several things that we ought to pray for.

But here’s how Jesus begins, in  Mathew 6, verse 9;  Jesus said.. “So then, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”  That word “hallowed” means.. “to make holy”, or “to consider to be holy”, or “to treat as holy”, or “to set apart as holy”.

Now let me ask you something..  Do you know what the word “sanctified” means?  Would you be surprised to learn that “sanctified” means exactly the same thing as “hallowed” means?   To “sanctify” means to “make holy”, and to “set apart as holy”.   The word “sanctified” appears numerous times in the new testament, but the word “hallowed”, only appears one more time in the scriptures, and that’s in  Luke 11, verse 2,  where this “model prayer” of Jesus’ is once again being spoken of.  And every other time that the same Greek word is used, and that would be 26 more times, that word is translated “sanctify” or “sanctified”. 

And so out of the 28 times that this Greek word is used in scriptures, it is translated “hallowed” twice, and it is translated “sanctified” 26 times.  But the point is, those two words mean exactly the same thing.  

And so if we were to follow the example of Jesus, and if we were to pray, saying..  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name”, what we would really be saying, is..  Our Father, may Your name be always sanctified;  May it always be set apart as holy, and may it always be treated as holy.  And so in essence, that’s one of the things that Jesus teaches us to pray for.  We should pray that God’s name always be recognized as holy, and that it be set apart as being holy, and that it be treated as holy, that it may be “hallowed”.

1 Peter 3:15  says;  “But sanctify Christ the Lord in your hearts: (same word there;  Hallow the Lord in your hearts)  ..and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”   


Discerning the Lord


Now, I’d like to point out a verse that contains a different word, which has a rather similar meaning.  It’s  1 Corinthians 11, verse 29.  And that verse is a part of a passage of scripture that we quite often read, before we partake of the Lord’s supper.  And when I help to serve the Lord’s supper, I often make mention of this particular word in  verse 29;  And the word is “discerning”.   This verse is talking about partaking of the Lord’s supper, without having the proper mindset, and without the proper attitude, you might say.  Here’s what the verse says..  “For whoever eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”  

We need to “discern” the Lord’s body.  What does that mean?  Well, it’s very similar to what  “sanctify” means.  It means to “set it apart” and to “distinguish it” from all others.

When we partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, we are symbolically partaking of the Lord’s body and blood.  And if we don’t distinguish in our minds, the significance, and the importance of the Lord’s body, and if we don’t set those things apart in our minds, and honor them in the way we ought, then we end up partaking in an unworthy manner, and thus we eat and drink judgment, to ourselves.  Some versions say, we eat and drink “condemnation”. 

And so here’s something that we should pray for..  Let’s pray that we always “discern” the Lord’s body, and that we always “sanctify” Christ the Lord in our hearts, and that we always hold as “hallowed” the name of our Father in heaven.  Not only while we partake of the Lord’s supper, but always, in every day of our lives, and in everything that we do.


Pray for our Daily Needs


But going back now to the “model prayer”, Jesus taught us to pray for several things.  For example, in  Mathew 6, verse 11,   Jesus said..  “Give us this day, our daily bread.”  So then even if we think we can take pretty good care of ourselves, and supply for ourselves everything that we need, Jesus tell us to pray, for our daily needs, for our daily sustenance.  We may take it for granted, but we never know what the morrow may bring.  It’s like the words of  Proverbs 27, verse 1;  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 

Now here’s something that sounds pretty important..  In  verse 12,  Jesus tells us to pray, for the forgiveness of our sins.  “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  Our “debts” here, refers to our offenses, our moral failures before God.  Lord, forgive us of these sins.

1 John 1, verse 9  tells us..  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  And what better way is there to confess yours sins, but through prayer to God our Father.


Temptation and Prayer


Now  Mathew 6, verse 13;  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”   Father please don’t lead me into temptations, and into the evils that might follow, but deliver me FROM those evils.   2 Peter 2:9  says;  “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations,..”  Several versions say..  “out of trials”.   And that’s what temptations are, they’re trials.  They’re trials that test our faith.

James 1, verse 12  says..  “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”  Sounds like trials and temptations aren’t always a bad thing, are they?  God says they can bring a blessing, even the crown of life! 


But let’s get back to the words..  “lead us not into temptation”?  Does God sometimes “lead us” into the temptations and trials that come upon us?  

Here’s what we’re told in  James 1, verse 13..  “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.”  

So then since God tempts no one, how would it even be possible for God to lead us “into” a temptation?  What if I said..  Lord. please do not lead me toward temptation.  That makes it sound a little bit different doesn’t it.  The word “into” comes from the Greek word “eis” which can be translated either “into” or “unto” or “toward”.  Maybe “into” isn’t really the best word to be using here.  Because I can easily see how God could lead us “unto” a temptation, and “toward” that temptation, or “toward” a trial, as a means of testing our faith.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”   (James 1, verse 2 & 3)   I can easily see how God would allow that to take place.  How that God could “lead us there”, by allowing us to go in that direction.  

Let’s compare the words..  “lead us not “unto” temptation, to what Jesus said in  Mathew 26, verse 41,  Jesus told Peter and James and John, in the garden of Gethsemane..  “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  

How do you think those disciples might have “entered into” temptation?  And what kind of “temptation” might they “enter into”?  Jesus actually told us WHY they might enter into temptation, when He said.. “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  And doesn’t that apply to us today, just as it applied to them on that day?   Isn’t that how we can enter into temptation?

Though in our spirit, and in our hearts, we may WANT to always do God’s will, because of the weakness of our flesh, and more specifically because of the desires of our flesh, we sometimes “enter into temptation” and we don’t do God’s will.  It’s just like we read in  James 1, verse 14..  “But each one is tempted, when he is carried away and enticed, by his own lust.”  

Does God allow us to be tempted and tried, by our own desires?  He certainly does allow it.  Could we justify saying that God has “led us” toward such a situation?   I think we could.

Even though God tests us, and tries us, maybe we should pray that such situations might be kept to a minimum.   And remember, we do have this promise from God, in  1 Corinthians 10:13..  “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”   


Pray for the Impossible !


Let’s jump to another thought here, before our time’s up..  Here’s what we’re told concerning prayer, in  1 Timothy 2, verse 1 & 2;  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people;  For kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

So then first of all, in  verse 1,  God instructs us to pray for ALL people.  Not only our immediate family.  And not only our personal friends.  And not only those whom we are particularly fond of.  But ALL people, for everyone!

And then, in  verse 2, He focuses on people that maybe we have a tendency to overlook, specifically for those in high positions of authority, and for the rulers of the lands.  And the reason for that is plainly given..  “so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 

Now I know we’re pretty “sheltered” in this little community where we currently live, but when we look around us at the bigger cities, and at the world, and see the turmoil going on everywhere, is it even possible for the majority of people to live a peaceful and quiet life?  How about in the middle east right now?  Where’s the peace?  Where’s the quietness?

Yes, of course everyone can live in a godly and dignified manner if they so choose, but to live in peace and quiet in this world?  Is it even possible?

And what about the turmoil that was present when those words were first written?  But yet God instruct us to pray for rulers, and those in authority, that we might live a peaceful and quiet life.  You might say that we’re authorized to pray for the impossible!

But on the other hand, when God is with us, is anything impossible?   With God we learn to look beyond what we see, and we learn to look at what can be, through prayer, and thru the power of the One who holds all power!


Have you ever been in the midst of as situation in life that would ordinarily seem impossible to overcome?  Well, God tells us that nothing is impossible!  In fact, Jesus tells us that very thing, in  Mathew 19, verse 26.  Listen to the words of that verse..  And it really doesn’t matter what exact subject was being discussed at that moment, I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t apply to any subject at any moment.

Here’s what it says..  “Having looked upon them, Jesus said to them..”  Now picture this if you would..  The disciples were a bit shocked at something that Jesus had just told them, and they basically asked Him, How can this be?  (in other words, how is that even possible?) And Jesus looked at them, and He said to them.. With men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!”  

Do you believe that?  I sure hope you do.  It takes faith, but it’s true.  Some things can seem almost hopeless to us, but it’s not even a bump in the road to God.  It’s kind of like Jesus said in  Mathew 9, verse 5..  “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk? ”    Psalm 33:9  says..  “For he spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” 

Now of course I know that those last few verses are not directly referring to answered prayers, but why wouldn’t the very same principle apply?   What’s easier, to create the whole world and everything in it, or to grant someone the request that they pray for, no matter what “men” may think the odds are?

Consider Elijah..  “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth!  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave forth rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”  (James 5:17 & 18) 

Verse 16  says..  “The working prayer of a righteous man (of a righteous person) accomplishes much.”   Some versions say, “The effectual prayer” of a righteous person.  It’s effectual, because it’s working, and it’s powerful, and it accomplishes much.

And God evidently wants us to live with that exact attitude.  That with God, all things are possible!   God supplies the compassion, and the mercy, and the power, and we supply the faith and the obedience and the prayer.  And then even if the circumstances around us may seem futile, we can still have peace and quiet in our soul, because as the scripture says, and as we believe..  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   (Romans 8, verse 28) 






This article has 2 Comments

  1. Amen ,
    I want to say amen to the content of this your excellent article on prayer.
    The words
    “God supplies the compassion and the mercy and the power, and we supply the faith and the obedience and the prayer.”
    God always used little and insignificant to do great things, amen.

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