2021 in Prayer is the last post in the series How to Receive Today Your Daily Bread. The purpose of this article is to share with you how to make prayer a constant exercise in your life starting this new year. This is the path to assertive decisions towards God’s best for your life and family.
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Pray As Jesus Taught Us
Jesus taught about our daily bread when asked by his disciples about prayer (Matt. 6:11). They wanted to know how to pray. They saw John the Baptist praying and learned that he had also taught his disciples how to pray. They saw Jesus praying, and praying unusually.
They thought, then, “this is our teacher … let’s ask him how to pray that way”. They were certainly impressed by the way Jesus prayed. And although the words of the “Our Father” are revealing, didactic and of profound meaning, the focus on Jesus’ teaching is how we should pray, rather than the terms to be used.
Jesus began by teaching that when we pray we need to say something: “When you pray, say it” (Luke 11: 2). The term say in the original is the Greek legete which means to say, to speak, to call, to command, or even to pray. Praying necessarily implies talking.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.Matthew 6:6
Prayer is a Channel of Personal Communication
Every time you talk to God, he hears you. And he will certainly answer you. When you decide to open your mouth and pray to God, a more intimate personal relationship takes place. Whether something particular or common to other people, small or huge, simple or complex, God values each of your prayers. This includes your questions. You need to decide to pray, open your mouth, and speak sincerely to God.
Some time ago, I realized that the way I used to pray was a poor copy. I was repeating other people’s words, and in the way that others prayed. It was not an original, sincere or spiritual communication. From that moment on, my first new prayer was a request to God to help me pray in a new way (Rom. 8:26).
Have you talked to God? Do you use the tone of voice and the words you would use with your father, with a friend, with a real person, to pray to God? Or, instead, you impose a different tone and search for words outside your everyday vocabulary? Relax! We can – and need – to be sincere when praying.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.Matthew 6:7
Prayer Is Talking to God
Even before your words, prayer begins with us paying attention to God. You look at him, and as you do, you see his greatness, kindness, and love. Therefore, nothing is more appropriate for the beginning of each prayer than to hear and worship him.
In this series, I encourage you to prioritize listening to God. Before each prayer, even before worshiping it, listen to him. At the beginning of each morning, give the Lord time to speak to your heart. Start your day by meditating on a portion of Scripture. Then worship God. And offer your prayers to him each morning.
You do not meet an important person and soon go on saying about you, or making personal requests. Before you observe, listen, greet. At the appropriate time, you can talk about yourself. So it is with prayer. God is interested in your questions. But you do well to listen and praise before asking. This is how Jesus taught us to pray.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Matthew 6:9
Prayer Is an Attitude of Faith
I know it is radical – and different from what we are used to calling prayer in religious environments. But the way Jesus prayed, which attracted the attention of his disciples, is supernatural. Praying for real is an act of faith.
You stand in Christ in the heavenly places and, from there, you speak in a position of authority. Even speaking to the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty, the prayer taught by Jesus is bold. Did you know that of the 7 verbs in the Our Father’s Prayer, 6 are imperative?
There is a lot of criticism about those who pray fervently, but that is how we should pray. When we understand our identity in Christ, that we are seated with him in the heavenly realms, and living exclusively to the glory of God, our prayers must be fearless. So always pray with authority in the name of Jesus.
When I understand that the Holy Spirit is leading me to something, I begin to pray as a process, generating in the spiritual realm what he wants to make a reality in the physical world. God often gives us responsibilities that require more than we can with our own resources.
A few months ago, I started praying with Rapha for a specific laptop, the best for our needs, calling it into existence by faith. It didn’t fit our budget in those days. A few weeks passed and I received a check as a gift, from a distant friend, that was sufficient for us to tithe, buy the laptop, and spare money. We had no doubt that God was answering us.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10
Praying According to God’s Word
God is good and everything he does is good (Ps 119:68). He promises and loves to bless his children with the best. So we need to learn to pray according to his heart. And we find that in the Bible. There are many guidelines for prayer in the Scriptures. We also find many prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit made by God’s servants.
But it is curious how much of what is being prayed for today is so different from biblical prayers. The apostle James mentions that some people pray and do not receive because they pray for the wrong reasons (Jas 4:3). At the same time, Jesus said that those who remain in his words will ask for what they want, and it will be given to them (John 15:7).
I share below 22 reasons for prayer that I found in the Word of God. The most repeated in the Scriptures are requests for protection, justice and the fulfillment of God’s will. Psalms are filled with prayers for these reasons. Jesus prayed each one of them too.
The Importance of a Place and Time to Pray
Before I mention them, I just want to highlight the importance of having a dedicated place and time for prayer. This will certainly change from time to time. But you must prioritize seeking the Lord early in the morning. And also develop the habit of prayer campaigns, preferably with other people, your spouse, a friend, or a group. This requires an appropriate place and time.
Also, we learn to cultivate what we call the “Garden of Prayer”. We daily pray for a list of names of the people God has providentially brought into our lives. They may be near or far, but they are people God has given us. This includes family, friends, leaders, and followers. We currently have about 80 people in our garden. Ask the Holy Spirit for help in identifying these people, write their names on a list, and present them in prayer daily.
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.Luke 22:39
Prayer Reasons According to the Bible
And these are the top 22 reasons the Bible calls us to pray. Please consider them in your prayers, and you will be seeking what is in God’s heart:
- God’s Will: Mt 6:10, Mt 26:42, Cl 4:12
- Faithfulness and Justice: Ps 143:1, 1 Re 8:45, Lm 3:59, Mt 6:33
- Protection and Deliverance: 2Sm 22:4, Ps 32:6, Ps 59:1, Mt 26:41, Rom 15:31
- Communion with the Father: Mt 6:6, John 17:11
- The Message of the Gospel: Ne 1:11, Ac 4:29, Eph 6:19, Col 4:3
- Love, in knowledge and perception: Fp 1:9, Cl 1:9
- Answer and Revelation: Ps 10:17, Dan 9:23, Eph 1:18-19
- Wisdom: Pr 2: 3, Jas 1:5, Cl 1:9
- Holiness: 1Tim 4:5, Heb 12:14
- Forgiveness: Ps 25:12, Mt 6:12, At 8:22, 1Jo 1:9, 1Jo 5:16
- Prayer in Tongues: Rom 8:26, 1Co 14:2, Jd 1:20
- Spiritual Power and Authority: Ps 68:28, Mt 17:21, Mark 9:29, Eph 3:16
- Improvement: 2Co 13:9, 1Ts 3:10-13
- Healings, Signs, and Wonders: 2Re 20:5, At 4:30, Jas 5:15, 3Jo 1:2
- Persecutors: Mt 5:44, Rom 12:14
- More Workers: Mt 9:38, Luke 10:2
- Intercessors: 2Ts 1:3-11, Jas 5:16
- Authorities: Ps 72:15, Jl 1:14, 1 Tim 2:1-2
- Family and Friends: Rom 12:15, Jas 5:13
- Sustenance and Prosperity: Mt 6:11, Phil 4:6, Ps 118:25
- Nation: 2Ch 7:14, Jr 29: 7, Ez 36:37
- Israel: Ps 122:6, Rom 10:1
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.John 15:7
Our Daily Bread Today
Getting your daily bread today means receiving in advance what you will need soon. Jesus created a term, used only twice in the Bible, both times when he teaches about asking for our daily bread today (Mt 6:11; Luke 11:3).
Just as the bread you eat was prepared the day before, or hours before, all your sustenance, everything you need to live God’s best for your family, is already prepared. You just have to ask the Father, and Jesus teaches us to ask for today. That is the attitude of a responsible person.
We need to wake up a little earlier than our schedule calls for. We need to seek God before our day presents itself. God is waiting for you to anticipate and he will be glad to bless your life and family with the best he has ever prepared.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.Psalms 5:3
Of course, this post – as well as the How to Get Today Your Daily Bread series – doesn’t explore the subject in-depth, but I’m praying that you will be awakened to pray like never before. Your prayers will introduce you to a life of assertive decisions as you’ve never experienced.
So, decide to pray with dedication. Choose the best place and time for you. Be sincerely before God, enjoying a personal relationship with him. And today you will receive your daily bread through the Word, Worship, and Prayer.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.Colossians 4:2
Prayer: Father, thank you so much for the privilege of relating personally with you. I ask that your Holy Spirit teach me to pray so I will live each day your plans for my life and family, in Christ Jesus. Amen.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
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“I will bless those people who bless you. But I will curse anyone who insults you.
Through you, I will bless all the families of people on the earth.” Genesis 12:3