Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians: 1:9-14
Paul's prayer for the Colossians shows that many of our pastors and spiritual leaders are not teaching the proper way for Christians to pray. Today prayer is based exclusively on personal needs to the neglect of the suffering and persecuted churches of the world. Paul could have limited his prayer to his need for release from prison but that was not his problem. He knew he was in the perfect will of God. He did not also pray for the material needs of the church at Colossae. On the contrary, he prayed for the spiritual growth of the church in terms of understanding, knowledge, and gratitude.
The Prayer of Nehemiah: 1:4-11
The prayer of Nehemiah should put many Christians to shame today. I believe that many pastors and spiritual leaders have done a great disservice to the contemporary church because prayer has become self-centered and self-service. Today many Christian prayers are based on material needs exclusively, while the persecuted churches of our world are being killed, maimed, and some even crucified. We have become unconcerned to the needs of the church at large.
Nehemiah could have brushed off the needs and the dire situation of his people in Israel. However, when he learned of their plight he was heartbroken and interceded for them. That is what the believing community today needs to do in the midst of untold hardships, opposition, and persecution.
The prayer of Nehemiah should be a great lesson for the contemporary church. We live in a day when many Christian churches are under persecution, death, and threats from the enemies of Christ. However, unfortunately, many Christians in the Western world are preoccupied with material things. We are to learn from Nehemiah and Paul and pray for the overwhelming needs of our brothers and sisters in the persecuted churches of the world. If possible some of us should go to the trenches and help our brothers and sisters in Christ as Nehemiah did.
The Prayer of Solomon for Wisdom: 1 Kings 3:6-9
Solomon's prayer for wisdom is one of the well-known scriptures in Christian history. However, today because of the focus and preoccupation with material needs, Christians have jettisoned these types of prayers. The prayer of Solomon is test of a believer's priority in life. As a young ruler in the stead of his father, Solomon knows the immensity of the task and responsibilities ahead of him. Therefore, he needs the direction of God hence his prayer for a discerning heart. How many Christians today pray for a discerning heart? We limit our prayers for personal and material needs. God answered Solomon's prayer and blessed him beyond measure because He knew that Solomon had requested the right thing.
If God were to appear to you and tell you to ask anything from Him what would you request? This is exactly what happened to Solomon. Would you ask for money, fame, cars, houses, prestige, power, good health, and possessions? Solomon was concerned with the burden of leading the nation of Israel. He realized that he was young and inexperienced unlike his father David who had preceded him. Solomon knew he was not a warrior like his father. Therefore, his request was simple but profound. He asked God to give him a discerning heart so that he might rule the nation well. His request pleased God so God added other blessings to his life. This should be a great lesson to every Christian today.