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Prayer is on my heart and mind this week.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite scriptures about prayer:
(1) 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 –
“‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that made in this place.'”
These verses give us hope in dry times (both literal and figurative). If we submit ourselves to the Lord, turning from all wickedness and seeking Him in prayer, He promises to be attentive and hear our prayers and heal our land.
(2) Daniel 6:10 –
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
The political leaders in Babylon envied Daniel because of his “exceptional qualities” and set about to destroy him by attacking his religion. However, Daniel, knowing full well that his punishment for praying to God would mean death, continued to pray. He refused to compromise his beliefs and faith in God even to save his own life. What an example he is for me and I don’t even face the threat of death for praying!
(3) Matthew 5:44 –
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “‘But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
We are called to love those who hate us and to pray for those who want to see us fail. How much easier it is to harbor resentment towards people who dislike us, but Jesus tells us not to retaliate but to love and pray.
(4) Luke 22:41-42 –
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsamene with His disciples, just before His arrest: “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed. ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.'”
In our Savior’s prayer, we see His humanity: He feared not only the physical suffering that He knew was about to take place, but also–and even more–the pain of being separated from God, His Father, when He took on the sins of the world. Yet, in spite of his dread and fear, Jesus submitted His human desires fully and completely to His Father’s perfect will.
(5) Romans 8:26 –
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
This verse takes the burden off me to pray “just right” because there are times I just don’t know what to say; but, I know that the Holy Spirit prays for and with me. That is truly a comfort!
(6) James 5:16 –
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
When we face struggles in life, the first place we should turn to is God. He should not be our last resort. And when we pray fervently and energetically, our prayers can accomplish great things!
(7) Proverbs 15:8 –
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.”
This verse reminds us that if our hearts aren’t right with God, our prayers will not be heard by Him. I am reminded of Cain whose sacrificial offering was not acceptable to God because his motives were wrong. Cain was doing what God told him to do, but God knew his heart and He didn’t like what He saw.
(8) Matthew 6:9-13 –
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver from us from evil.'”
Known by all as “The Lord’s Prayer,” these four verses teach us the fundamentals of prayer: who to pray to, what to pray for, and how to pray. The perfect prayer for us to model: simple, to the point, yet comprehensive in nature.
(9) Colossians 4:2 –
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Paul advises the church at Colossae to “devote” themselves to prayer, being persistent and not giving up. When we pray we need to be vigilant, attentive to God, and grateful for His answers even when we don’t like them.
(10) Psalm 122:6 –
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.'”
In this psalm David is praying not only for himself but also for the people in Jerusalem. Here we have the perfect example of intercessory prayer. We need to remember when we pray to make our petitions and requests on behalf of others and not to pray solely for ourselves.
What is your favorite scripture about prayer or praying?