What should we pray for?

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Prayer is one of the highest privilege man is given with. It is through prayer that we are able to talk to our Father, the Almighty God, Supreme Ruler of the vast universe. Imagine what tremendous and exponentially wonderful privilege it is to communicate with God anytime we want. We do not have to arrange or request an appointment to get in touch with God.

Why should we pray?

We Need God!!!
The psalm is peppered with 15 requests, some of them repetitive, fired at God with a strong sense of urgency.
David begins (86:1), “Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy.”
The fact that he cries out for God to save him (86:2, 16) shows that David knew that he could not save himself.
In 86:7 he mentions that he is in “the day of trouble.”
In 86:14, he specifically mentions the band of arrogant, violent men that were seeking his life.

To whom should we pray?

We should pray to the only true God, great in power, love, grace, and mercy.

How should we pray?

in humility
in faith
What should we pray for?


David asks God to save him (86:2, 16), which in the context obviously refers to being delivered from his enemies. David needs help he needs deliverance from His trials. Even Jesus asked for deliverance from His trials in the garden. Paul prayed for deliverance with his thorn in the flesh (physical ailment like his eyesight or Jews that were causing him harm, he asked God to get rid of it, relive me of it.)
Acts. 12:5,12
Acts 12:5 NASB95
So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
Acts 12:12 NASB95
And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Acts 16:25–26 NASB95
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
strength and endurance
Colossians 1:11 NASB95
strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
Ephesians 3:16 NASB95
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,


the sick
James 5:13–16 NASB95
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
laborers or ministers in the Lord
Matthew 9:36–38 NASB95
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Ephesians 6:18–19 NASB95
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
Acts 4:29 NASB95
“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,
Matthew 9:38 NASB95
“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Acts 13:2–3 NASB95
While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Matthew 5:44–45 NASB95
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Romans 10:1 NASB95
Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.


David asks (86:4), “Make glad the soul of Your servant.” That was a bold request at a time like this (Kidner, p. 313).
Colossians 1:10–12 NASB95
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Ephesians 1:17 NASB95
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
Eph. 3:14, 18-19
Ephesians 3:14 NASB95
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Ephesians 3:18–19 NASB95
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 1:16–18 NASB95
do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,


Here I’m focusing on the wonderful request of verse 11, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” In any trial, a teachable heart is essential.
Ask God what you should be learning about Him and about yourself in the difficult situation.
Most of us instinctively pray for quick deliverance, but David prays that he will learn God’s ways so that he will walk in obedience to God’s truth.
He prays that his loyalty will not be scattered or divided, but rather be united or single-minded. He wants to be wholly devoted to God. And the end result is that he will fear or reverence God’s name.
So often in trials, people who professed faith in Christ when things were going well, quickly turn to whatever they think will get them out of the trial. They aren’t interested in learning more about Christ and His sufferings (Phil. 3:10). They don’t want to hear about walking in His truth. Their hearts are grabbing for anything, even false gods, that will give them relief.
Rather than submitting reverently to God, they rail angrily at Him for allowing their suffering. But these reactions are indicative of the seed sown on the rocky soil. Not having any roots, it withers under trials.
pray that you don’t fall into temptation.


David prophesies that all nations will worship before God and glorify His name (86:9). He also affirms that he will glorify God’s name forever (86:12). One reason that God brings trials into our lives is so that we will call upon Him and then glorify Him when He rescues us (Ps. 50:15). So in all of our troubles, we should be looking for ways to magnify the Lord, so that others will be drawn to Him. In the midst of life-threatening situations, such as David was in, we can still affirm (86:5), “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.”

Pray that God would exalt his name in the world.

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” (Matthew 6:9)
Matthew 6:9 NASB95
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

Pray that God would extend his kingdom in the world.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Matthew 6:10 NASB95
‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Pray that the gospel would speed ahead and be honored.

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
2 Thessalonians 3:1 NASB95
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;


President Lincoln came to know Christ personally through the burdens that he faced during the Civil War. He later said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” (Cited by Ray Stedman, Jesus Teaches on Prayer [Word], p. 51.)We live in a time where our city and our nation desperately need God’s salvation! This weekend, our city has flaunted degradation with the “Pride in the Pines” festival, celebrating what God calls shameful. President Obama proclaimed June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.” He lauded what he called the determination and dedication of the LGBT movement.But what might God do if we pray for His mercy to be poured out on this evil country? We certainly have great needs. But He is great in power, love, and mercy. Let’s come before Him and ask Him to pour out His Spirit on the churches and on this land, so that sinners will come and worship before Him, glorifying Him for His great mercy!

Application Questions

To what extent is our prayerlessness due to our not seeing our great needs? How can we be more aware of our true needs?How does your view of God stack up with Psalm 86:5, 15? How would believing this biblical view change your prayer life?How can we develop true joy and thankfulness in the midst of trials? Are we supposed to fake it when we don’t feel it?Why is a teachable heart essential when we’re going through trials? How does a defiant heart block God’s mercy and love?
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