Recently I visited my octogenarian parents and we discussed the fact that my Dad, who turns 90 this year, had just celebrated 25 years of retirement. I asked him if he’d ever been bored during the last quarter of century, and he replied, ‘Not until very recently’, which was due to his relinquishment of a number of responsibilities and activities that had occupied much of his time in the past. As I considered my parents’ stage in life, it occurred to me that they could continue to have a huge impact on the lives of others. In fact, I believe the greatest work of their entire lives could easily lie ahead for them. And the greatest work of your life and mine is the same as theirs: and it’s something that we are able to do at all times, regardless of our age, gender, ethnicity, location, or physical limitations.
The most important thing we can do to affect change in our own lives and in the lives of others is to PRAY. Prayer, or communing with God, is not only a privilege that God has given to us, but also a command. (Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6; 1st Thessalonians 5:17; 1st Timothy 2:1) However, many people wonder how or what they should pray. First, like any loving parent, God longs for us as His children to come to Him and unburden our hearts without pretense. He longs for us to ‘pour out our hearts like water’ to Him (Lamentations 2:19), for He desires ‘truth in the innermost parts” (Psalm 51:6).
Secondly, and importantly, we can know that we are praying in accordance with God’s will when we pray His Word. Below are a few ideas for prayers based upon the Bible that I often use to pray for myself, as well as for others, and they can be used if you are praying alone or corporately. They are appropriate to pray for your loved ones and neighbors; for church, business, community, and political leaders; and even for ‘your enemies’, as we have also been commanded to pray for them as well.
- Pray that ‘the fear of the Lord’—a reverent awe for Who He is, the Almighty, One and Only True God– would consume you and others. (Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 111:10)
- Pray that God would create in you and in them a clean, pure heart, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within you and them. (Psalm 51:10)
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict you and them of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment (John 16:8-10), so that you/they would their fix their eyes and thoughts upon Jesus and eternity (2nd Corinthians 4:18; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 12:2), and live for the purpose you/they were created—the pleasure and glory of God! (Isaiah 43:7)
- Pray that the Lord would break your and their hearts over the things that break His heart; that you would be unified with God and have His mind, His heart, and live in the power of His Spirit. (John 17:21-23; Philippians 2:1-11)
- Pray that you and they would be rooted and grounded in God’s love and have the faith to comprehend its height, depth, width, length, and breadth, so that you and they will know His unfailing love that surpasses all human understanding, and be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19; Romans 8:37-39;)
- Pray that the Lord would grant you wisdom, discernment, understanding and divine revelation, as He did for King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. (1st Kings 3:9; Ephesians 1:15-21).
- Pray that you and they would be found faithful to carefully obey all of God’s commands, which pleases Him (Deuteronomy 12:28); is the way to demonstrate love for Him (John 14:15); and puts His children in the position where He may bless them. (Deuteronomy 28; Psalm 1:1-2; Luke 11:28; Romans 2:6-8)
- Pray that the Lord would give you and them a humble, contrite, teachable spirit and the knowledge that you/they can do nothing apart from Him, but are able to do all things through Him and His strength. (Isaiah 66:2; Luke 14:11; John 15:5; Philippians 4:13)
- Pray that you and they would have an insatiable desire to read the Bible, which is inspired by God and is necessary for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so that you and they will be thoroughly equipped to do the work God has called and created you to do. (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) Pray that you and they will hide His Word in your heart so that you and they might not sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11)
The more you are in His Word and draw closer to Him, the more the Lord will reveal to you His desires and lead you to pray many other prayers. As you faithfully pray in accordance with His Word and will, be prepared for the Lord to do in your own life and in the lives of others what only He can do—bring life-transforming revival!
Written by Julie