We should always be praying.
I could stand before any group of people at any given time and it would be totally appropriate for me to challenge them to make a commitment to prayer. If I were standing before a group of unbelievers, they certainly would need to be challenged to get on their knees and cry out to God in prayer. Standing before a group of believers, knowing what we know about God, being blessed the way we have by God, we have just as much a need to be challenged to pray.
We should always be praying about everything.
The commands of Scripture are pretty direct about this. Paul says it quite clearly, “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And again, “Pray without ceasing.” And again, “With all prayer and petition, pray at all times int he Spirit.
In everything, without ceasing, at all times.
It is not too hard to understand that. We should always be praying about everything because we are always dependent on God in everything. There is never a circumstance where we have less of a need for God. There is not a single area of our lives where we are sufficient in and of ourselves to do what God expects and desires.
We should always be praying for ourselves as individuals.
I remember a seminary class where the professor went through every situation in the Bible where a person prayed about something and it was pretty powerful reminder of all that we need to be praying to God about.
We should pray when we have done wrong and offended God.
Unintentionally, Gen. 20:7.
Intentionally, Acts 8:22.
When we are desirous of a deeper relationship with God, we need to pray.
When people who hate God are attacking us, we need to pray.
2 Sam. 15:31
When things are going well for us spiritually, the grace of God is evident in our lives, we should not presume on that grace, we need to pray.
When we need to make important spiritual decisions, we need to pray.
Luke 6:12, Acts 13:12
When we come to the Word of God, we need to pray.
We should always be praying for each other as individuals.
One of the reasons we have been saved is that we might be made into priests and what do priests do? They intercede with God on behalf of others. Paul says in Ephesians 6:18, “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
We need to pray for them when they are doing well spiritually.
Paul would pray that believers would abound still more.
We need to pray for them when they are not.
We need to pray for their boldness to proclaim the gospel.
We need to pray that they are able to keep doing what is right in tricky circumstances, to keep a clear conscience before God.
We need to pray that their hearts would be opened more and more to experience the heights and depths of God’s love.
We should always be praying for the church as a whole.
If Christians are really proved by their love for other people, Christians are going to have a concern for people outside of themselves. If we really are imitators of Christ, and we believe what we believe about the way Jesus loves the church, not just our church, but the whole church, we are going to spend time doing what Jesus does and that is talking to God on behalf of other Christians all over the world.
That was true of God’s people in the Old Testament. They spoke to God on behalf of each other, the way we are to do for each other.
And it is true in the New.
I think the apostle Paul is our example in this and when we read his letters we find a man with an overwhelming burden for the good of the whole church – even people he hadn’t met face to face. (See Colossians 2:1ff)