As I continue to study and read on prayer I am struck by the prayers recorded in the Word of God. Three such prayers have caught my attention this week. The first two are Pauline prayers. They are found in Ephesians 6:18-20 and Colossians 4:3-4. In each of these prayers, Paul is asking for prayer but what he asks for is not what I would ask for. My prayer requests, the things I ask others to pray about are health, financial solvency, release from specific issues in my life. And all of these were undoubtedly on Paul’s mind, he was imprisoned, probably sick, wanting to be freed and yet he asks that other believers pray for his speech. That it be God-directed so that he can continue to proclaim the message openly, publicly, fearlessly. He wants a chance to keep speaking about Christ in every and all situations in which he finds himself. This astounds me, and it challenges my feeble attempts at prayer.
The third passage is from Nehemiah 1:5-11
. In it we find Nehemiah praying to God for success in approaching the King about the plight of Jerusalem. I believe Arturo Azurdia III gives us a succinct definition of prayer taken from Nehemiah’s example. He writes, “Prayer is more that “simply talking to God.” It transcends meaningless chatter, repeated platitudes, and even the artful stringing together of religious sentiments. It is the conversation of adoration, the intimacy of intercession, the dialogue of dependence, and the humility of confession. Simply speaking, prayer is talk that honors God.” p.109. Oh that I would learn to pray in such a way. Lord, Teach me to pray in dependence upon you, in humility, in adoration and intercession. Teach me to pray as Christ prayed.
You can find Azurdia’s thoughts in Chapter 16 “Characteristics of God-honoring prayer” of Giving ourselves to prayer, pg. 108-113.
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