There is a kind of prayer that focuses solely on our current situation. This is when we are simply asking God to Change our circumstances and to make our lives easier. There is a time for this kind of prayer, as we see this kind of prayer throughout the Psalms. We’ll call that circumstantial prayer. Often circumstantial prayer focuses on the temporal.
There is another kind of prayer that focuses more on God changing us…and less on Him changing our situation. These are prayers related to people’s character…prayers where we are asking God to change us, to make us “complete in Christ”…and praying that the same things for one another in the church (e.g. “LORD, change me/us in the midst of challenges, use my circumstances, Your Word, Your Spirit, Your church to build me/us up to maturity.”) We’ll call that discipleship-focused prayer. Discipleship-focused prayer often get at the eternal prerogatives of God.
Jesus’ Discipleship Focused Prayer
Read John 17:13-26:
13 “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
What does Jesus pray for on our behalf?
Does Jesus pray for a change of circumstances for believers?
The stated goal of Paul’s Ministry
Colossians 1:28 “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. We must therefore prayer prayers that are aimed at this ultimate end. Otherwise our community is in danger of degenerating into “God would you please continue to make us more and more comfortable with every situation in our lives?” This runs contra much of what we see in God’s method of sanctification through the Scriptures and says much about our pursuit of comfort as an ultimate end. Do we share Paul’s focus in striving to see everyone in this community presented complete in Christ? How will prayer factor into each person’s development?
|Paul’s Discipleship Focused Prayers|
|Rom 1:8-10Rom 10:1Rom 12:12Rom 15:5-6|
What do we learn from Paul’s discipleship focused prayers?
What sort of themes related to Discipleship surface in these prayers?
What would it look like to pray these prayers for those in our GC?