Jesus did not say, “if you pray,” but he specifically said, “when you pray.” Prayer is communication with our heavenly Father, and the closer we draw to Him, the more reverent our prayers should become toward God and the more compassionate, concerned, empathetic, and kindhearted our prayers should become toward others.
Yes, we are to pray for our own needs, but first we should pray for God’s will. His will is that we be as the Samaritan who was actively concerned for the stranger on the road. We should pray for the needs of others too.
This is not something new. We know this. Yet prayer can easily become a routine “gimme” session, a gripe fest or a “conference demand call.” (Some of the prayers I have seen posted on the Internet or making the rounds in e-mail messages to pass on to all our friends, acquaintances, relatives and enemies appear more demanding than respectful. I do not believe we have any right to tell God what to do or how to answer our prayer. Therefore, I think of them as “conference demand calls.”)
We should also grow from a selfish, local view of praying for the Body of Christ and acquire the habit of praying for the worldwide body of Christ. People in other countries do not have the freedom to worship as we do in
What brings this subject to mind is an e-mail message I received this morning from a Christian minister serving in a Moslem country, where the freedom to worship as we do in this country does not exist. He writes:
“The country is in the grip of violent street protests for a week. It does not seem to calm down at all. Four persons have lost their lives so far. A church and a Christian school have been attacked and burnt to ashes in the southern city Sukkur, yesterday on
The prayer requests this minister sends are for the protection of Christians in a land where they are despised and for opportunity for those that hate them to come to know Jesus. The simple sincerity of his requests inspires me to pray. I hope it will inspire others to pray for these brothers and sisters in
If you pray with reverence and faith for the entire Body of Christ, you will, indeed, be blessed as you pray.