Prayer’s block and an attempt to help

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Prayer's Block SLIDE

Do you ever experience prayer’s block?

Do you ever experience prayer’s block? You know, kind of like writer’s block, but with prayer. That’s what I call it, anyways. It’s ok to be frank and honest with Jesus, yourself, and others about your prayer life. Sometimes my prayer life becomes so narrow and small that it feels miniature, hollow, shallow, lifeless, self-centered, and focussed on my earthly kingdom that will be destroyed rather than focussing on Jesus’ Kingdom that has no end. Sometimes I feel as though I’m praying to a small god I’ve created in my mind, rather than the awesomely glorious, infinitely wise, and extraordinarily powerful God of the heavens and earth and the fulness thereof. I sometimes think to myself, will Jesus be glorified if any of my prayers are answered or are my prayers so small that, if they were answered, they could easily be explained by human logic? Why do the prayers I pray look so drastically different than those found in the pages of Scripture? Sometimes I think, since my prayers feel so shallow and small, what the heck should I be praying for?

What should we pray for? 

Do you find yourself in the same boat as me from time to time? Would you like to pray significant prayers? Does your heart desire to pray in such ways as to focus on Jesus’ mission advancing and the church’s joy increasing in this world? Maybe not. But maybe you’re right there with me.

Here’s my attempt to help. I have found it helpful to look at the prayers in the New Testament as a kind of encouragement for us today. This list is not exhaustive, but it is informative which I hope will end up being transformative.

I am not saying that this is the only “holy” way to pray. I am not saying that these ways are the only ways to pray. I am not saying anything to take away from or belittle what you are already praying. I am saying that we need to take a look at the Bible to see what prayers Jesus, his Apostles, and the early church prayed. I am saying that we need to take a serious look at how small our prayers are in comparison with the God who is so magnificent that at the end of one of his prayers Paul says,

“Now to him who able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

This is for those who, like me, too often find their prayer life lacking. This is also for those who find their prayer life empowering, joyful, and triumphant. May this be an encouragement for us all.

What should we pray for? Bible Edition.

Pray that God would exalt his name in the world.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

Pray that God would extend his kingdom in the world.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Pray that the gospel would speed ahead and be honored.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

Pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13; cf. Ephesians 3:19)

Pray that God would vindicate his people in their cause.
And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? (Luke 18:7 rsv)

Pray that God would save unbelievers.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

Pray that God would direct the use of the sword.
Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:17-18)

Pray for boldness in proclamation.
Praying at all times in the Spirit . . . and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:18-19)
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness. (Acts 4:29)

Pray for signs and wonders.
And now, Lord, . . . grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness . . . while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus. (Acts 4:29-30)
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 rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:17-18)

Pray for the healing of wounded comrades.
Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. (James 5:14-15)

Pray for the healing of unbelievers.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. (Acts 28:8)

Pray for the casting out of demons.
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:29)

Pray for miraculous deliverances.
So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church . . . When he realized [he had been freed], he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. (Acts 12:5, 12)
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake. (Acts 16:25-26)

Pray for the raising of the dead.
But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. (Acts 9:40)

Pray that God would supply his troops with necessities. Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)

Pray for strategic wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

Pray that God would establish leadership in the outposts.
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23)

Pray that God would send out reinforcements.
Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:38)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them o!. (Acts 13:2-3)

Pray for the success of other missionaries.
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints. (Romans 15:30-31)

Pray for unity and harmony in the ranks.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21)

Pray for the encouragement of togetherness.
We pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

Pray for a mind of discernment.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Pray for a knowledge of his will.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)

Pray to know God better.
[We have not ceased to pray for you to be] increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10; cf. Ephesians 1:17)

Pray for power to comprehend the love of Christ.
I bow my knees before the Father . . . [that you] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. (Ephesians 3:14, 18-19)

Pray for a deeper sense of assured hope.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers . . . that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:16, 18) page3image24080 page3image24240 page3image24400 page3image24560 page3image24720 page3image24880

Pray for strength and endurance.
[We have not ceased to pray for you to be] strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11; cf. Ephesians 3:16)

Pray deeper sense of his power within them.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers . . . that you may know . . . what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. (Ephesians 1:16, 18-19)

Pray that your faith not be destroyed.
I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22:32)
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

Pray for greater faith.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24; cf. Ephesians 3:17)

Pray that you might not fall into temptation.
Lead us not into temptation. (Matthew 6:13)
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Pray that God would complete your good resolves.
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

Pray that you would do good works.
[We have not ceased to pray for you that you] walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work. (Colossians 1:10)

Pray for the forgiveness of your sins.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

Pray for protection from the evil one.
Deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:13)

As you pray, realize that at the end of every prayer anyone has ever prayed or will ever pray, God the Father sovereignly, powerfully, and majestically could say, “I can do far more than that.”

“Now to him who able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Let’s pray big prayers to the big God who has a big desire to show off his big glory in Christ Jesus.

 

Always seeking your joy in Jesus,
Pastor Brett