April 4: Back to Basics: What to pray for

When we sit down for prayer meeting, or in our prayer closet with the requests from friends and family, what do we pray for? Let’s compare that to what Paul prayed for.

It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances. It is certain that they lived in the midst of many dangers and hardships. They faced persecution, death from disease, oppression by powerful forces, and separation from loved ones. Their existence was far less secure than ours is today. Yet in these prayers you see not one petition for a better emperor, for protection from marauding armies, or even for bread for the next meal. Paul does not pray for the goods we would usually have near the top of our lists of requests.

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, p. 19

None of these things are wrong to pray for – we’re commanded to pray for all our worries!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

But what was Paul’s primary prayer request?

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Ephesians 1:17

Before we ask Christ to do for us, we need to ask to know Him better!

April 3: Back to Basics – Who are we praying to?

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:15-16

Prayer is enabled by the Spirit, directed to the Father. Not just the Father of Jesus Christ, but our Father!

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name

Matthew 6:9

Yes He is “Our Father!”

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Ephesians 3:14-15

We have His name! But He is not the Father of all.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:44

If God is your Father – you can talk to your Father.

If God is not your Father – you can be adopted today!

April 2: Back to Basics – Theology of Prayer

We’ve been studying prayer this year – but I was reading a book that reminded us we need to get the basics down first.

What is your theology of prayer? What is your beliefs about its purpose, nature, and object? Sometimes we get caught up in what we can get from God, or what we want God to do for us, that we forget the basics.

“We should consider also the Scripture’s theology of prayer – the reasons in God and in our created nature that human beings are able to pray. We are told that Jesus Christ stands as our mediator so that we, though undeserving in ourselves, can boldly approach God’s throne and cry out for our needs to be met (Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25). We are also told that God himself dwells within us through the Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11) and helps us to pray (Rom 8:26-27) so that even now by faith we may gaze and contemplate the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 3:17-18).

Keller, Tim. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (p.3)

In your quiet time with God today, use a Bible search app or a concordance to build out your “theology” of prayer – what are truths from the Bible on prayer that we need to be reminded of?

March 28: Prayer Revival in New York City

For a few days we’ll be sharing some of the contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the Prayer Meeting Revival in New York City. This article is from the February after the Prayer Meeting Revival started on September 23rd, 1857.

The Washington Union. (D.C.), February 21, 1858, Page 3. On the Revival in New York City
The Washington Union. (D.C.), February 21, 1858, Page 3. On the Revival in New York City

March 27: The Prayer Revival hits the Wire Services

At noon on September 23rd, 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier put out a sign advertising a prayer meeting. We introduced the “Prayer Meeting Revival” yesterday – for the next few days we’ll share some newspaper stories from the time. This article was syndicated across several newspapers.

Evening Star. (Washington, D.C.) November 10, 1857, Page 1 - The Noon-Day Prayer Meeting
Evening Star. (Washington, D.C.) November 10, 1857, Page 1 – The Noon-Day Prayer Meeting

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

James 5:13

March 26: The Prayer Revival


The King’s College recently acquired a statue of Jeremiah Lanphier, produced by the American Bible Society for the 150th anniversary of the Prayer Meeting Revival.

Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King's College
Jeremiah Lanphier statue, photo from The King’s College

The King’s College tells the story behind this statute:

Lanphier was a New York City businessman living during a tumultuous time in the history of New York City and the United States. Economic depression and political division over the issue of slavery marked America’s public life. In New York City, whose population was 800,000, 30,000 men lingered idle and drunk in the streets, and unemployment plagued the city.

Lanphier’s church had relocated north from the corner of Fulton and William Streets, and knocking on doors and sharing the gospel had made little difference in Lanphier’s mission efforts. Eventually, he realized the need for prayer, and began distributing thousands of flyers advertising a prayer meeting at noon in a church on Fulton Street, to be held on September 23, 1857.

For the first half hour of the meeting, no one came. Then five people arrived, and they prayed together. From Jeremiah’s flyers and by word of mouth, the invitation spread.

In a matter of weeks, thousands were gathering to pray in New York each week. From there, prayer meetings spread across the United States, and eventually, as many as 10,000 people per week were professing faith in Christ in New York City alone.