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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Divine Directions as to Prayer

Richard Belsham

From The Baptist Challenge, March 2014

God has not left us in ignorance as to whom and what to pray for when we come to the Throne of Grace. His own mind has been expressed so simply and clearly in the one Book He has given that there is no excuse in the matter. When special calls and opportunities come to pray, the question is often asked “Well what is there to pray about?”

If you are in real earnest about this, and really want to become an “intercessor with God,” then let me ask that you take a little time to read your Bible with me and find out for yourself the “Divine Directions.” Your prayer times and prayer meetings need never lag or lack if these directions are followed carefully and constantly.

1. Pray for All Men

“I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:1-6).

May I ask you to become thoroughly acquainted with this paragraph, and note the character of prayer, the objects of prayer, the purpose of prayer; the encouragement to prayer, the season for prayer, the medium of prayer, and the ground for prayer. Ponder those seven things, and you will begin to feel you must and can pray.

2. Pray for All Saints

“Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18). These are our fellow Christians, fellow pilgrims and strangers, fellow witnesses to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, fellow citizens of the household of God; all of which have been saved by grace, are indwelt by the Spirit, are being kept by the power of God, and are journeying to the same home which our Lord has gone to prepare.

All alike have their sicknesses, difficulties and discouragements, dangers and distresses, troubles and trials, sorrow and cares and burdens, weights and worries, necessities and untoward circumstances, testings, and temptations, calls and demand for grace, strength, guidance, sustenance, keeping, wisdom and knowledge of what to do, and what not to do. Surely there is a plenty about which to join them in prayer and for prayer.

3. Pray for Ministers of the Gospel

“And for me (said the Apostle Paul), that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph. 6:19) It is no small matter and task to tell out the good news of grace and love constantly and with power and fresh-ness, intelligently, helpfully, fearlessly, fully, and faithfully. There is much to be made known to the mind and will of God in His Word to men, just as God has given it to us.

Ministers are exhorted to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2) All this takes time and study, prayer for light and understanding, preparation for the needs spiritually of their hearers, sympathy and love, consideration and care to visit and feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made them to be overseers. (Acts 20:28) Prayer will go a great way to make a successful ministry.

4. Prayer for More Laborers and Reapers

“Then saith he to his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-39).

Our Lord saw the multitudes as sheep having no shepherd, and had compassion on them; and when we think of the multitudes today without God and without hope in the world, should we not also “have compassion” upon them, and do what our loving Lord asked of us?

Missionaries of the cross should always have a large place in our prayers, especially seeing that is the very thing they are constantly imploring us at home to do. Let us spend time in asking for more reapers in the great harvest field. Pray also that many doors may “yet” be opened to carry the gospel to every part of the world; and that those who are waiting to go may soon be able to do so. God still works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

5. Pray for Israel

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved” (Rom. 10:1). There is no difference concerning Jew and Gentile in this all-important matter “for there is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12) than Jesus Christ. And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

In the midst of their present suffering worldwide, we are glad to hear of a changing attitude toward God and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and many are accepting Him as their Savior. Jesus said we were to evangelize “all nations,” (Matt. 28:19) and they are “one” among them. All who are working among and for them need our constant and earnest intercession and supplications. Join the apostle in this.

6. Pray for All the Will of God

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col. 4:12) What unusual kind of praying is this! Think of it —“Always ... laboring ... fervently.” Is that our kind of praying? Have we the same burden also? “All ... the will ... of God.” That does not mean just saying, “If it be Thy will.” God’s will is revealed in His Word, so that His people may know it. It is up to us to search and find “that will.” Read these four passages of Scripture: Ephesians 5:17; 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Pet. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:18. Now pray for all these things to be done in you and note the expression: “This is the will of God.” There’s plenty to pray for!

7. Pray for Things

“Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7) What a privilege to carry “everything” to God in prayer! What a pleasure it also should be! What profit it will be!

Praise God for the ministry of prayer! Should any child of God ever lack for anything to pray about? Can you not now understand how many of God’s giants have fought and won their victories on their knees? Jesus said “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34) Then let us get and ponder these things in our hearts and we shall be well able to pray, to pray more and to pray much. “Men ought always to pray.” (Luke 18:1) Do “you” pray? If so, how much? How often? Follow the “Divine Directions.” What a blessing it will be for yourself and others.