Pray Like This . . .

Pray then like this . . .
— Matthew 6:9

I resonate with Brother Lawrence, the 17th-century monk. Lawrence said:

“For many years I was bothered by the thought that I was a failure at prayer. Then one day I realized I would always be a failure at prayer; and I've gotten along much better ever since.”

Can I get a witness!

As much as I find solace in the brother’s words, I’ve come to realize I don’t have to stay in the remedial prayer class. The fact that Jesus says, “Pray then like this . . .” tells me that he wants me to get batter at praying.

The big question, of course, is “How?” If you are looking for a little help in the prayer department, look no further than Scripture. You will see and hear many, many prayers. Here are five.

Five prayers you can pray today:

1 — The Prayer for Maturity:

We all want our loved ones to “grow up” spiritually. Paul did too. Read his opening words to the Colossians. Paul is writing out his prayer for them. Why not adopt his prayer as your own:

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. Colossians 1:9-12, NLT

Who is that one person your could lift to God this week using this prayer for maturity?

2 — The Prayer for Politicians:

These days—no matter your political leaning—every day seems to be a political dog fight. So how do we hold up our elected officials. Here is the way Paul encourages Timothy to pray:

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT

Take another look at that passage. We see three distinct aspects of a prayer for politicians: Ask God to help them (for health, wisdom, working across the aisle, building collaborative relationships, seeking the greater good). Give thanks for them (most politicians view their role as a public service, they deserve gratitude for this). Pray that their service can lead us to peace and the prospering of our city, state, country.

3 — The S.O.S. Prayer:

I suspect all of us have tapped out an S.O.S. to God: “Help me!” If so, we’re in good company. We don’t have to read too hard between the lines to notice that Nehemiah offered up his own S.O.S. — and God answered.

So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”

Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city . . . . Nehemiah 2:2-5 NLT

I can picture Nehemiah standing before the king, outwardly calm, cool, and collected; but inwardly shaking in his boots. With so much on the line, that brief encounter with the king was critical. So what does he do? In the instant before he speaks, he utters under his breath, “Help me, Lord!” And God did help!

We can’t sustain a relationship with God on “Help me, Lord," but we can always take delight knowing God hears our S.O.S. prayers.

4 — The Prayer for an Open Door

Do you have a loved one, a friend at work, neighbors, or people with whom you interact at the gym — who you know are far away from God? What might God do if you start praying for an open door to share the message of Jesus with them? This is what God exhorts us to do through Paul.

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison. Colossians 4:3 ESV

Maybe the reason we don’t get those gospel opportunities with others is that we are facing spiritual forces that only give way after a season of prayer. Start today by asking God to open the door for you to share the gospel — both the reality of his work in your life and how they can know him too.

5 — The Prayer For Your Preacher

This prayer is a follow-up to “The Prayer for an Open Door." Paul writes:

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Colossians 4:3-4

The gospel is God’s power to save people, but he still uses people to communicate his message of salvation. Paul, for all his expertise, brilliance, and experience, still asked his friends in Clossae to pray the simple prayer that God would help him make the message clear.

That’s a great prayer to pray for yourself — and especially for your preacher.

What prayer will you pray today?

Why not stop now and talk with God. Which prayer will you make your own?

Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.

— E.M. Bounds