I sometimes get overwhelmed by how much the world needs God: from living day to day to large-scale disasters and injustices. I want to pray for everything, I know God knows everything, I don’t know where to start. How can we pray when there seems too much to pray for? I believe we simply need to return to the basics – that God is Sovereign.
People have developed all sorts of acronyms to help us pray; adoration, the “ACTS” model, praying through the word for example. These are all useful; in the end, they are names we have given to some principles of prayer Jesus shows us in the Bible.
- Prayer is primarily about communication with God. It is about building relationship with Him. ADORATION is building relationship with Him. It is acknowledging who He is. It is saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” [Matthew, 6:9]
- CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING and SUPPLICATION are encouraged all through the Bible. It is putting obedience and forgiveness in place. It shows reverence for God. It shows an understanding of what He desires, a heart that hears God and listens. [Matthew 6:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Philippians 4:6-7]
- DECLARATION is faith; believing that God’s word is true, declaring His truth in the knowledge of Him, in the knowledge that His promises never fail, in the knowledge that God will always be victorious. [Psalm 71:15-18]
. . .
In Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. This includes the example of the Lord’s Prayer, but also a number of surrounding verses which show us how God sees the purpose of prayer.
Prayer is not for our glory, but it is for God’s glory and our reward in prayer is found in Him.
[v. 5-6] – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to Your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
The amount of words we pray does not predict the outcome of our prayer since God already knows all things.
[v.7-8] – “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
Prayer teaches us character, and helps us to recognise our weaknesses.
[v.14-15] – “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
When there seems to be too much to pray for, I remember how God sees prayer.
I cannot change the world, but God can.
I cannot comfort every hurting person, but God can.
I cannot minister to every person in the world, but I can minister to those God places in my sphere of influence.
My first and primary purpose in prayer is to draw nearer to God; to hear His heartbeat, understand Him more, be loved by Him and to love Him. As I know Him more, I recognise His leading better, and step out in obedience. He shows me how to pray; sometimes it is something specific, but sometimes it is simply “Come Lord Jesus.” In the end, I realise God already knows, but He wants me to know to. He is already working, but He wants me to work with Him. Prayer in the “too much” teaches me faith, grows me in character, and shows me more of God.
We cannot pray too much;
our relationship with God is always developing.
We cannot pray for too much;
it is not humanly possible with so many world issues, and so many individual lives.
However, we can pray for GOD;
He knows every need, every person, every solution.
He is all we need, and He is our solution.
God is the answer – for us, and for the world.