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The Benefits Of Planned Prayers

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Perhaps like me you have a prayer journal listing specific prayers to be prayed regularly on each day of the week. This is a great way to order our prayer life, but this method can also raise a few questions. ‘Should we pray every day for everything on our prayer list, or is there a better way? Or if we miss praying for blessings for our marriage, relationships, church and those in need, will God overlook these things and avoidable trouble descend on those we neglected praying for? What does ‘pray without ceasing’ as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 look like? Does this mean that we should exhaustively recount every petition and heart cry every day to the Lord?

Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Thankfully, God knows what we need before we ask Him. In fact, He knows all things exhaustively, eternally and He will accomplish all that He desires. His purposes and plans are already written and determined, and our prayers (or neglect of prayer) cannot alter that fact. We are not to think that our prayers obligate or direct God in any way, for He knows what He will do (John 6:6). Prayer is about the changes it brings forth in us rather than the effects it has upon our LORD.

This is not to say that our prayers are in vain. God both commands and delights in our prayers. We are instructed in Scripture to offer prayers of adoration (Psalm 9:2), thanksgiving (Psalm 107:1), confession (1 John 1:9) and petition (Philippians 4:6). In His own mysterious way, God has even woven our petitions into His all-determining decree, promising to answer prayers offered in the name of Christ, with faith, according to His will. So God’s predetermined plan for those we love will be done whether we remember to pray for them or not. We need to be encouraged that our God is far greater than our prayers.

In regard to the methodology of our prayers, the Bible has much to say. We are encouraged to seek His face with holy zeal, honesty, humility and earnestness as Hannah did in the first chapter of 1 Samuel when she petitioned God for a child. We are to present all our prayers to Him with thanksgiving as we read above in Philippians 4:6 and to intercede with alertness and perseverance for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18) and for all kinds of people (1 Timothy 2:1). Finally, in 1 Corinthians 14:40 Paul offers these guiding words in regard to worship and prayer: ‘But all things should be done decently and in order.’ Prayer is to be thoughtful, orderly, and understandable.

If these biblical guidelines are to be followed, we can and should offer prayers that are ordered and planned. The system of offering prayers for different peoples and groups on different days, can be very helpful and ensures that we are lifting to God the needs of those concerning us. Personally, I have found this method very useful after years of haphazard prayers that can leave me feeling exhausted and repetitive as I try to pray for everyone and all that concerns me on the one day! There certainly was no joy in attempting to pray in this way.

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having everyone of them harps, and golden vials full of odors which are the prayers of the saints.

Then there are those prayers which the Holy Spirit leads us to pray in the moment. These are the spontaneous prayers that arise within. As we offer these petitions and prayers, we are drawn closer in our spirit to the one we are praying for and to the God who hears them. These too are precious prayers that are like incense arising to the LORD’s throne-room.

Whatever our plan for prayer, as we offer ourselves in prayer to the LORD each day, may His blessed presence warm our heart and spur us on to give ourselves to this work that enriches our lives beyond measure and draws us closer to the Father’s heart.

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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2 comments

  1. Jennifer,
    Thank you for this important message and well written article.
    Have a Blessed Day~

  2. amen jennifer

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