Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
We have no good apart from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,” James tells us (James 1:17). Similarly, Paul asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). The resounding response, of course, is nothing whatsoever. All that we have, we have from God.
If that is all true and we can do nothing of lasting value apart from Christ (John 15:5), then what makes us think we could make it through any day without praying to the one whose strength and sustenance we so desperately need? This doesn’t mean we need to host prayer meetings 24/7 (although perhaps more times of extended corporate prayer would benefit us all!). But it does mean that we should never attempt to make it through a single day without expressing our dependence on our heavenly Father in prayer.
The reality is that it’s easy to get stale in our praying. But that happens most often when our prayer times turn into personal shopping lists, focused more on things that we want than what we and the world around us really need. We ought to “let [our] requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6)—whatever those requests may be, great or small. But we ought also to pray for grand things. The greatest cries of the people of God should be the greatest concerns of the kingdom.
For example, we can pray for:
- world missions, praying as we send people out of our congregations and around the world
- the teaching of the Bible in places near and far
- the cause of Christ to be established in the world
- God to hold back His hand of judgment and shower us with blessing and mercy
- the faithfulness and growth of the church and our witness around the globe
- our government and its leaders, from the local level upwards
- the homeless, downtrodden, and hungry
- points of light to spring up around your city as testimonies to the gospel of Jesus Christ
This is just a sample, of course. A kingdom-focused list could continue far further! Whatever you end up praying for specifically today and in the coming days, though, ask God for His kingdom to come. Ask Him for His will to be done. What a joy that He calls you to keep on praying, and then answers your prayers to build His kingdom!