Brethren, I have to EXHORT YOU TO PRAY FOR OTHERS. Before I do it, I will ask you a personal question. Do you always pray for others? Guilty or not guilty, here? Do you think you have taken the case of your children, your church, your neighbourhood, and the ungodly world before God as you ought to have done? If you have, I have not. For I stand here a chief culprit before the Master to make confession of the sin; and while I shall exhort you to practice what is undoubtedly a noble privilege, I shall be most of all exhorting myself. – Charles Spurgeon
The best way to teach your family to pray, is to model it. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for themselves. His lesson is recorded in Matthew 6.9-13. I challenge you to commit to praying for 21 days the following, after Jesus instruction:
Prayer of adoration: I will speak the name and character of God. I will declare God’s holiness and beauty, and ascribe to him the glory that is due. This can be accomplished by speaking or meditating on the various perfections of God (e.g. love, goodness, justice, wisdom, etc.).
Prayer of submission: I will submit to God’s sovereign will and plan in ALL things. More than “thinking it”, I will verbally proclaim my hope for God’s will to be done in my life, the life of my family, and my church–and not my own. This is radical because praying this means accepting what God deems as his purpose for “Good” (Romans 8.28) may not be how I view it. It is a prayer of submission, knowing that God may not give me what I desire for his glory and, ultimately, my joy as I am satisfied in Him.
Prayer of provision: I will thank God for all that He has given. I will ascribe Him glory for how He has blessed me even for the very breath he has given me to proclaim it. I will ask for a content heart, recognizing that anything this side of hell is God’s grace. And I will affirm God’s promise to provide as well as I follow his command to ask. He gives what I need and takes away what I do not because of what I need.
Prayer of confession: I will confess my sins. As God already knows all things, past, present, and future I will daily lay before him my brokenness. I will regularly confess that I am rebellious and fall well short of the perfection He requires. I will confess my pride, my harsh words, my lustful thoughts, my lies, my doubts, the hateful sins that I commit everyone is watching, and the unloving sins I omit when no one is. I confess not be accepted and begin a relationship, but to restore the relationship I already have.
Prayer of protection: I will pray against the spirits of this world. I refuse to continue living as if there is not a spiritual war going on around me. I will pray against the temptations that the devil throws at me, that the world unleashes on me, and that my own flesh creates in me. I will work defend myself by holding tightly to the cross, declaring as Colossians 2 does, that sin and death were destroyed on the hill called Golgotha. In God’s Power, I will pray for protection of my heart and mind, for protection of my marriage, for protection of my children, and for protection of our church.
Prayer of deliverance: I will pray for freedom. I will pray that Jesus will deliver me from the bondage of my sin, the hooks that I allow to take hold in my life. I will pray that Jesus will deliver me from those things that I make an idol, the things that I sacrifice for and worship that are not him, the things that I make into functional saviors. I will ask Jesus to deliver me and those I love from sickness, from doubts, and from my own blindness at times. I will declare that I cannot deliver myself, DAILY, and that I need a savior to redeem me AND a Lord to lead me.
Prayer of dependence: I will pray against my sinful desire to know all things, to do all things, and to have all things. I will pray against the lie that I don’t need God in all areas of my life. I will ask God to reveal to me my weaknesses and where I refuse to allow him to be Lord. I will ask God to show me where I live in such a way as if I don’t need him. And I will pray that he will, by His Spirit, conform my will to his.
Prayer for self – I will pray that my relationship with God will grow. I will pray aloud the prayers of Paul like Ephesians 3.14-21 that express NOT a desire to avoid sin, rather, to KNOW God and the depth of His love for me. I will pray that his Word becomes alive to me, that it becomes an insatiable desire.
Prayer for family – I will pray for God’s help as I lead and pastor my first church–my family. I will pray for my bride, my children, and their future spouses daily. I will ask Jesus to bless me with a desire to love my bride and that I will be, by divine influence, so allured, attracted, and amazed by the one woman he has given me. I will pray for the salvation of my children. I will pray that my children will be protected from the evils of this world but not afraid of it.
Prayer for friends – I will pray for my friends, neighbors, and those who I run into to, that they will meet Jesus. Daily I will identify 2-3 friends who need Jesus. I will pray for them daily that God will remove their heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. I will persevere in my prayer because Jesus commanded me to; but I will leave the results of my efforts with God.
Prayer for church – I will pray for my church. I will ask God to guide his church and to give us what we need, despite what we think we want. According to his desire, I will pray for growth, that through our church the gospel will spread and that we will impact this city with the love of Jesus. I pray that God will move mountains for us to do amazing things that we can’t possibly imagine because he is good, powerful, and mysterious.
Prayer for community – I will pray for our city, county, state, and nation. I will ask God to remind me that the hearts of our kings, whether they love him or not, are still streams of water he directs. I will pray that, through broken men making broken laws and building broken culture, he will still be glorified–especially through my love for and participation in the community.