What Should I pray For?


Pastor Benson challenged us last night to refrain from praying the mundane. He stated that our prayers are typical such praying for mom, dad, siblings and kids. Not that praying for people is wrong, it is that our prayers are not kingdom specific. By that, do they reflect the heart of God? Are they indicative of God’s desires? He made a good point. More often than not, our prayers more ego-centric sprinkled with a pinch of altruism or neighborliness.

First, Pastor Benson solicited from us what are the things the Word states we should pray for. We all gave our best answers; he then gave us a sheet which he had previously prepared. Let’s face it. We could all use a little encouragement to pray and to pray beyond ourselves. While that is true, I want to ease us into this excursion over the next few days. Today, I will start with David. This text is probably before he became king. He was just like us. He was navigating life’s  hardships.

Listen: Psalm 143

1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.

 3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.

 5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Selah

 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

 11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

David’s first order of business was to engage God asking that his prayer be heard. We all want to be heard especially by the Almighty God. We know that if we are heard there is a great chance of one responding to what he/she hears. In this case, it was God who knows no bounds or limits.  What was David praying about? His spirit grew faint within him and heart was dismayed because his enemies (possibly Saul) pursued him to crush him. How many of us have felt like an adversary was out to get us after attempting to deal with repeated attempts to overtake us? It wearies our heart and soul?

Matthew Henry identified the focus of David’s prayers in the following: He complains of his troubles, through the oppression of his enemies (Ps. 143:3) and the weakness of his spirit under it, which was ready to sink notwithstanding the likely course he took to support himself, Ps. 143:4, 5. II. He prays, and prays earnestly (Ps. 143:6), 1. That God would hear him,Ps. 143:1-7. 2. That he would not deal with him according to his sins, Ps. 143:2. 3. That he would not hide his face from him (Ps. 143:7), but manifest his favour to him, Ps. 143:8. 4. That he would guide and direct him in the way of his duty (Ps. 143:8, 10) and quicken him in it, Ps. 143:11. 5. That he would deliver him out of his troubles, Ps. 143:9, 11. 6. That he would in due time reckon with his persecutors, Ps. 143:12. We may more easily accommodate this psalm to ourselves, in the singing of it, because most of the petitions in it are for spiritual blessings (which we all need at all times), mercy and grace.

From that, we can see a number of biblically based things we can pray for our own lives while remaining bible-centered in our prayers. I challenge you to look at what you are praying for? Are we praying for God’s will to be done or ours? Are we praying primarily for our own needs? Of the time that you pray, how much of that time is concerned with family, church or your desires as a ratio of God’s desires. Again, David shows us it’s not wrong to pray for ourselves. We just need to make sure that what we are praying is representative of God’s desires. More than anything, David prayed to connect with God for the purpose of hearing and following God’s direction or path for his life not his own path.

Let’s pray as he did: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. He prayed to be lead by the Spirit which is God’s desire for all our lives.

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