It is too easy for believers to fall into formalism when we pray, either praying the same things all the time or praying without heart-felt sincerity. John Bunyan, the renowned author of Pilgrim’s Progress, gives us a cure for formalism in our prayer life.
Jesus’ humanity in the post-resurrection accounts sometimes leads us to underestimate the magnitude of His divinity, but in Revelation John provides a glimpse of His post-resurrection glory so that we may we have supreme confidence in the King to whom we pray.
The devil has many tactics to destroy us but Christ delivers us from them all through His work on the cross. The One who was delivered over to death in our place is able to deliver us from every evil attack as we pray to Him for grace.
When it comes to temptation, we are in grave danger because we are exceedingly weak and our enemy is exceedingly strong. But God is infinitely stronger still, and He delights to protect and preserve those who pray in the Name of the One who never succumb to temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The early church father Augustine was one of the most influential theologians in the centuries after the apostles passed from the scene. One of his letters still exists in which he gives advice to a widow on the type of person she should be to pray and the types of things she should pray for. Using Augustine’s scripturally based advice, we will see how we can be more biblical in our own prayer life.
The only thing harder than asking for forgiveness is forgiving someone who has really hurt us, yet Jesus says both are essential to the Christian life. How can we receive and extend true forgiveness? Only through the grace of the Savior who prayed, ‘Father, forgive them’ on the cross.
Dependence is not an easy thing to teach independently-minded sinners. How might God impress upon us our daily need for Him as well as His gracious provision for that need? By teaching us to pray the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. He is the one who meets our daily needs-both physical and spiritual-through His Son, the true Bread from heaven.
Who runs your life? Christians are quick to say “God,” but when we examine our motives and actions more closely we find that we often still try to be little gods unto ourselves. In the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us that the purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to learn what God wants and to tune our will to His.
Despite his imprisonment, Paul taught the Ephesian church that he rejoiced that in Christ Jews and Gentiles have been united, and that they now enjoy peace that followed from this union. He gladly prays for these unified Christians that they would have Spirit-energized power to know Christ’s love, with the ultimate goal that they will be filled with the fullness of God. Paul’s prayer for power in our inner being is instructive for our prayer lives today.
There are many ways to build a kingdom: militarily, through force; economically, through prosperity; culturally, through shared experience. But all such kingdoms are destined to perish because they are based on human means and human ends. God is building an eternal kingdom for His glory through the proclamation of His Son, who invites us to join Him in His great work by praying, “Your kingdom come!”