This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Need Help in Praying?
Ross McCall of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) loves to help people pray. And he knows that we sometimes struggle over what to pray for. We want to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will in Christ for us.1 But we often feel that we are in a rut, repeating ourselves in prayer and not really connecting with God. Our prayer times can feel dry or stale. McCall reminds us that prayer is talking with someone (Christ the Lord) who loves us deeply and knows us intimately. Jesus says that He is:
- The Lord our God who is with us,
- The Mighty Warrior who saves us.
- He takes great delight in us.
- He quiets us in His love.
- He rejoices over us with singing.2
Most of us go through times when praying feels like walking uphill. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said: “Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.” So Ross McCall created a list of things to pray for when we need a little help. He urged us to treat his list as open-ended, so I have adapted and expanded it with more Bible verses, quotations, and comments.3 I used a shorter version of this at a recent prayer meeting and also in prison ministry and pastoral counseling.
Praise God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) for Who He Is
Scriptures: The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him…..Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands….To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and power, for ever and ever! (Psalm 28:7, 63:3-4; Rev 5:13)
Comments: In praising a creature, we may easily exaggerate. But in praising God we can’t overstate who He really is to us….Don’t be afraid of saying too much in praising the Lord. All the danger is of saying too little….If Christians praised God more, the world would doubt Him less….In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.4
Thank God for Sending Christ to be our Savior, Mediator, and Redeemer
Scriptures: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life….Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died as a ransom to set us free from our sins….I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand victorious on the earth. (John 3:16; Heb 9:15; Job 19:25)
Comments: Every day we can appreciate some new blessing in Christ. His love has neither brim nor bottom….The person who experiences Jesus’ love in their heart can do more in one hour than the busy person can do in a century….There is no higher priority in the believer’s life than to delight in Jesus’ love….The distinguishing mark of Christians is our confidence in Christ’s love and yielding our affections to Him in return.5
Thank God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) for All the Blessings He Gives Us
Scriptures: He has shown kindness by giving us rain from heaven and crops in their seasons. He provides us with plenty of food and fills our hearts with joy….He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else….God did this so that we would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being….We are His offspring. (Acts 14:17, 17:25-28)
Let’s not forget all the Lord’s benefits. Here are a few:
- He forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases.
- He redeems our life from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion.
- He satisfies our desires with good things.
- He renews us like an strong, overcoming, and soaring eagle!6
Comments: Let’s not grumble because we don’t get what we want. Let’s be grateful that receive better from God than we deserve….The greatest sufferer who lives in God’s world of redeeming love, and who has the offer of Heaven before them, has cause for gratefulness….How strange that after the Lord has saved us from the pit, He must plead with us whom to show appreciation for Him!…God is never more properly thanked for His goodness than by our godliness….Christians should have a gratitude attitude.7
Pray for the Lord’s Help to Love Him Above Everything Else
Scriptures: The most important commandment is this: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength….Be very careful to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to keep His commands, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and soul….Love the Lord, all His faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to Him, but the proud He pays back in full….And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love….If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! (Mark 12:28-30; Josh 22:5; Psalm 31:23; 2 John 6; 1 Cor 16:22)
Comments: The greatest and best thing that can be said of a person is that they love the Lord Jesus. It is right that our hearts should be focused on God, when His heart is always set on us….Love for God is not love for Him at all unless it expresses itself in practical ways….Just as obedience to the Lord is an indication of our love for Him, so is it also a proof of our child-like fear of God….Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love to Him….A true love for God must begin with a delight in His holiness.8
To be continued.
Notes (various Bible translations): 1 1 Thes 5:16-18. 2 Zeph 3:17. 3 “19 Things to Pray For: Tips for a Better Prayer Life in 2022″ by Ross McCall. 4 A. R. Fausset, Matthew Henry, Charles E. Jefferson, C. S. Lewis. 5 Samuel Rutherford, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Maurice Roberts, C. H. Spurgeon. 6 Psalm 103:2-5. 7 Albert Barnes, Donald Grey Barnhouse, John Blanchard, Stuart Briscoe. 8 Richard Baxter, John Benton, Jerry Bridges, Nathaniel Emmons, Jonathan Edwards.