Communication with God is very important.
It is essential to the breathing rhythm of the follower of Jesus that as they work out the will of the Lord in their serving and living, they likewise take in what God says to them with the Spirit that inspires insight. There are a number of different prayers both from the Bible and beyond that mean a lot to me. Something I appreciate more about how prayer operates is that it is an inward communication for an outward expression in some shape or form. Often that prayer is answered by things that happen miraculously as well as often the answer being something I do.
As I remember these prayers and others, I am often challenged to take heed to the encouragement to pray without ceasing and keep it at the centre of all communications and actions. Here are ten of the crucial prayers in no particular order.
1. The Lord’s Guide To Prayer
It’s commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, but as I read it, Jesus was giving a guide for His disciples in how they should pray. It remains a guide that is so rich with guidance and insight into what matters to God and what should matter to us. Whenever I am tempted to stray, it proves a great resource in helping to pray in line with what He wants, especially with that essential phrase – Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
2. My Mother’s Prayer For Her Children
Both our parents prayed for their children and were fervent in their prayers. I recall vividly, however, how passionately my Mum prayed for the three of us. Of all the things you can ask God, my Mum’s deepest desire was that all her children would find contentment in a relationship with God. That priority affects me to this day to the extent that in as much as other issues might be useful for my own children, I am only too aware that all the earthly securities will mean nothing if my children are not growing in an intimate relationship with God.
3. Jesus’ Prayer for Unity
John 17 is a breathtaking journey in the prayer life of Jesus. It is so informative to me who often struggles with the ineffectiveness of institutions of denominations and organisations. With that happening I just want to see if there’s an alternative. There may be an alternative, but it is not to ignore and distance myself from believers in the institutions of organisations and denominations. It is to be all the more conscious of God’s desire for His Body to reflect the oneness that the Godhead have celebrated throughout eternity.
4. A Prayer Of Thanksgiving
Nothing wakes me up to the realities of God ruling in all things than the prayer of thankfulness. Not just the listing of blessings as though they’re items on the receipt your get from a shop. A reflection on those things, their effect on my relationship with God and the reason to point to the good God who gives good things. All of a sudden the empty pocket is a pocket on a pair of trousers that God has given. The argument with the wife is an encounter with the woman God has blessed me with. Things look better after a deep, rich and joyful prayer of thanksgiving.
5. Stephen and Jesus’ Prayer For Forgiveness
Relationships with people are tenuous expeditions at the best of time. When they go sour and people start getting antagonistic, it is easy to get defensive and offensive. Neither approaches necessarily reflect the heart of God, especially when it comes from a heart looking for vengeance. There are unpleasant people, no doubt about it. There are things that need to be addressed, that is a true story. Yet there is power in forgiveness and seeing it in action when both Stephen and Jesus were about to be killed. That kind of prayer is sobering and challenging.
6. Danny’s Prayer For Grace
I am not referring to what people call the prayer before a meal (where do we get that from). My former boss at the YMCA did me the world of good by praying that I would experience something fundamental to a thriving and flourishing relationship with God and others – grace. That sense of not having to strive to earn God’s favour, but realise He has abundantly given it and it’s on that all things make sense and life should be founded. I don’t live to gain His grace, His grace enables me to live. That prayer from my friend remains a truly deep and profound prayer in my life.
7. Deborah, Abigail and Zoe’s Prayer For Their Parents
It’s sometimes really touching when I hear my girls pray. Sure they don’t have the huge vocabulary of their Dad, but they have a bigger heart and a greater sense of integrity, honesty and simplicity in prayer. Their love for their parents is actually a stimulant to go back to my Father for the strength to love them as He loves me. My desire is that level of honesty and endeavour in prayer will stay with them as they get older.
8. Prayer For The Holy Spirit
Whether in scriptures, in a church gathering or the intimacy of a one-to-one conversation there is little more moving and powerful than that request for the Holy Spirit. Outpoured, indwelt, consoling, comforting, enabling, convicting, pointing us to Jesus for the glory of the Father. However it is prayed for, the prayer for the Holy Spirit and the results from that is simply wondrous in every way.
9. Prayer For Healing
In a world racked with sickness and disease in body and mind it is beautiful and powerful for people of God to get together and cry out to God for healing. I have been a recipient of such prayers, but it is not just personal healing. Healing relationships, mental states and people groups is what makes such prayers remarkable. Tapping into the heart of what makes the Kingdom of God so wonderfully appealing and seeing that aspect of the heavenly rule on earth, is still a wonderful experience.
10. Prayer For Peace
Believers are not just looking for the absence of things. Followers of Jesus Christ look for His presence in everything. Where His presence is experienced there is fruitfulness, there is harmony, there is such a cohesive functioning and living that we will overflow with the characteristics that make Him such a beautiful Saviour and a glorious Lord. His title as Prince of Peace sees the personal embodiment of that Shalom – wholeness – that creation cries out for.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden