Prayer is often one of the most selfish areas of a Christian’s life. When you think about it, most of our prayers focus on our own needs. The two main subjects of our intercession are our own spiritual growth and the needs of our families and friends.
Occasionally, we may reach beyond our own narrow concerns and pray for others. Yet usually when we say, “I’ll pray for you,” we don’t do it. Or, we pray once and then quickly forget about their need.
Recently I have been examining my own prayer life in light of the Scriptures and I have been convicted about the narrowness and limitations of my own praying. Like most believers, I spend much of my prayer time seeking the Lord about my walk with Him. I cry out to be made holy, to become like Him, to receive guidance for life, to have His anointing on my ministry. And I enjoy sweet communion with Him, quietly worshiping Him and being refreshed in His presence.
I also intercede daily for my family. I ask the Lord to protect my children from the schemes of the devil—to make my sons like oaks planted by the river of God, to make my daughters polished stones in His palace, and to make all my grandchildren lovers of Jesus. I pray for the concerns of our church body. I also intercede for individuals who are in crisis and for the many missionaries and ministries we support.
You might say, “That’s all commendable, Brother Dave. It’s comforting to know you’re shut in with the Lord, communing with Him and praying for all those needs.”
But according to God’s Word, sweet communion is not enough. Yes, it is the secret to spiritual growth, and we can have no greater experience on earth. But if we go to the throne only for our personal edification and needs, we are being selfish. We simply cannot neglect praying seriously for the dire needs all around us.
“Then saith he unto his disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:37-38).