by Peter Swann
I once preached a message entitled "The What of Prayer.” We talked that day about how we generally tend to pray about what is right in front of us rather than big, life prayers. The former isn’t bad, of course, but the latter sure is necessary.
The former is often self-focused and defensive in nature, and that’s not all bad, of course – we should pray for healing and for protection and for whatever we are going through. But the book of Acts didn’t take place by believers playing only defense.
Prayer is war, and prayer is intrinsically offensive. We’ll pray the defensive prayers, but we’ll always surge forward with offensively-minded prayers. We are praying – warring – for that which is of eternal worth.
If we’re going to pray offensively, let’s also pray strategically and intentionally. Let’s pray “life prayers” – those prayers which will we war in over ourselves, our families, and our church far more than any other. These are life prayers and daily prayers.
Here are fifteen life prayers I referenced from Scripture in that sermon. More may be considered, but here are fifteen key ones:
FOR THE LOST
For boldness and signs and wonders (Acts 4:29-30)
For an anguish for the lost (Romans 9:1-3)
For a move of God in our city and world (Matthew 28:19-20)
For greater love for Jesus and delight in Him (Psalm 149:2-5)
For sin to be abolished (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
For reproducing discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2)
Expressing love (Psalm 18:1)
Saying thank you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Evoking adoration (Psalm 148:11-13)
FROM FOUNDATIONAL THEOLOGY
For the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
For the advance of the Kingdom (Luke 11:2)
For faithfulness (1 Corinthians 3:6)
OF GENERAL BLESSING
For blessing (Numbers 6:24)
For protection (Ephesians 6:12)
For anointing (Ephesians 5:18)
As I’m praying over myself, our family, or our church family, then, here’s a typical prayer that is fairly succinct while incorporating these elements:
“Lord, we love you… more than life itself. We worship you and thank you for Jesus and the gospel. We celebrate you and delight in you. We pray to love you more each day as sin is abolished in our lives for your glory. We pray for boldness and signs and wonders and ask for your heart for the lost. We plead with you for the salvation of those around us who don’t know you and we ask that you move in our city and world in power. Please raise up reproducing disciples through us and around us. May we be faithful and may your Kingdom be advanced in mighty ways. And may your blessing, protection, and anointing be on us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Since we pray our priorities, our priorities will be adjusted as we adjust our prayers. We’ll also powerfully disciple our kids or anyone who hears us pray.
There’s no magic formula here, though… only an expression of our heart in line with the Father’s heart. But prayer is war, and when we war in line with the Father’s heart, the Kingdom may be mightily advanced around the world through those strategic and intentional prayers.