One of the biggest struggles Christians face is prayer time. Of course, this is only my opinion, but based on my experiences and conversations with friends — prayer feels awkward. We stumble over words, tripping out statements that feel forced. While most Christian leaders encourage you to simply “talk” to God, have a conversation the way you would with a friend, that’s easier said than done.
Yesterday, I published Part 1 of 3D Prayers, and we talked about Length, or praying without ceasing. Read (or re-read) yesterday’s blog here. Today, I go into Part 2… giving our prayers breadth.
I struggled with this one when it came to write this blog… what is breadth? I thought of it as width, but it also means “comprehensive quality.” Comprehensive is defined as “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”
2. BREADTH: Ensure your prayers are comprehensive.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. ~1 John 5:14-15
When we pray, we can’t only bring our wish lists to God; He’s not a genie, there to do our bidding. We have to make sure our prayers are comprehensive. I once read that our prayers should be inclusive of five elements: 1) Praise, 2) Confession, 3) Thanks, 4) Prayers for Others, and 5) Prayers for ourselves.
I’ve found that not every prayer is inclusive of all five, but if the balance is there — I think we’re on the right path.
Prayers of praise can be done as we read the Bible! Psalm is a great place to start doing this. David is credited with writing 73 of the 150 Psalms found in the Bible and his words have inspired millions of believers to praise God, even during challenging times.
Prayers of confession should be a part of praying without ceasing. For example, as part of my decision to re-commit to Christ, I was convicted about my language. I used to drop obscenities left and right; my language has gone through a major overhaul in the last several months. However, I’m still human. In the moments where I’ve let one drop, I have stopped and confessed then and there. The moment we know we’ve done something that goes against God’s will for our lives, we need to confess immediately. Don’t wait until designated prayer time. With a humble heart of contrition, tell God you’re sorry and ask for forgiveness.
Prayers of thanks are another type of prayer that can be done as we read the Bible or as we go about our day! Look at the world around you! As I type this, I have a gorgeous oak tree in my backyard that is covered in yellow and orange leaves. As I let the dogs out, it’s a perfect opportunity to thank God for several things… changes in seasons as a reflection of God’s consistency, the originality of God’s creations, a home and a backyard to enjoy, the sunshine that helps the trees to grow! The possibilities for showing God our gratitude are endless, and when we begin praying without ceasing, those opportunities present themselves even more frequently!
Prayers for others should include our family and friends, but should also be broad enough to include our government leaders, ministry leaders, military, and others we don’t know. This has been a challenge to me personally, and it’s something that I’m working to grow… our world is far bigger than our individual social circles!
Prayers for ourselves should start first with a desire for God’s will in our lives. Ask God to help you listen to His will for you and His purpose. Ask Him to guide you, to direct you, and to close opportunities that aren’t good for you and to open up opportunities that are… For myself, I like to also ask God specifically for opportunities to make Him proud of me; for opportunities to bring Him joy.
When we pray, we need to ensure that the requests we make of God line up with His law. Obviously, asking God for something that doesn’t line up with His teachings isn’t going to happen! However, if we go to God with confidence, God hears us. Every. Single. Time.