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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 55

Prayers of Petition continued...

Now that we know we ought to pray prayers of petition with faith, persistence, and specificity, what specifically should we be petitioning God for?

Although needs vary in size, scope and nature from one individual to another, there are certain things we should be consistent in petitioning God for in our prayers. As I’ve said on previous occasions, it is wise and prudent to discern the difference between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’, and identify those things we truly need, separating them from the things we simply want.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul assured them, and by extension us, that God would supply all our need according to His riches in glory, but he never said anything about our wants.

Far too often, what we want and what we need in our lives are so far apart from each other, they’re not even on the same continent. As is often the case, we don’t want what we really need, and we don’t really need what we want.

It is only when we are forced to do without some fundamental need that we realize the importance and preeminence of needs as opposed to wants in our lives.

Yes, the human condition is that much of a paradox!

We rarely want what we need, and we rarely need what we want. In order for our prayers of petition to be effective, in order for them to reach the throne room of God and get answered, we must identify the needs in our lives, and focus our petitions toward God on those needs.

So what are some fundamental needs of life? What are some of the things we ought to be asking God for during our prayers of petition?

The first thing we ought to be asking God for in our prayers of petition is forgiveness.

Daniel 9:8-9, “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.”

Forgiveness is a personal need for every one of us. When Jesus instructed His disciples on how the should pray the words ‘And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,’ were included in His instruction on how we ought to pray.

Yes, we must pray for forgiveness. Every day of our lives, we do something, think something, say something, or see something that we ought not to have done thought, said, or seen. As such, every day of our lives we must come before the heavenly Father with our prayers of petition, and ask for forgiveness.

When we ask for forgiveness, we know we are forgiven. The weight is lifted, the burden is removed, and we can walk in the assurance that comes about only when one has been cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ.

Contrary to popular belief, a prayer of petition for forgiveness isn’t just done once in our lives when we repent of our past, but such prayers must be part of our daily lives, because daily we fall short, and daily we err.

It takes but a moment’s worth of introspection, to realize that we are not perfect. Yes, we are saved, and sanctified, but we are still human. As such we still get flustered when the person ahead of us is driving fifteen miles under the speed limit, our temper still rises when the lady holding a cup of coffee in one hand and texting with the other bowls into us drenching us with hot liquid, and though it might have been a momentary lapse, we still feel the need to ask God for forgiveness.

Although the previous examples might have been extreme for some, there are still countless other things which occur throughout an average day, from arguing with a spouse, to raising our voices to our children, to backbiting and disparaging a brother or a sister in Christ, to getting distracted and not spending enough time with God on any given day. All these things and many more, are enough of a reason for us to fall to our knees, and as God to forgive us.

When we feel the need to petition God for forgiveness, it is a good indicator that we should in fact, petition God for forgiveness. The more we ignore that voice inside us insisting we ask God to forgive us, the softer it will get, until it becomes almost imperceptible.

We cannot allow our hearts to grow hard toward the urging of the Holy Spirit. We cannot allow ourselves to become insensitive, and ignore it when our spiritual man is admonishing us to ask God’s forgiveness for something we might have said, thought, or felt.

When we ask forgiveness from the One, who obtained our forgiveness through the shedding of His blood, we are certain to receive it, because He freely gives it to all who ask it of Him. When we omit prayers of petition for forgiveness from our prayer life, it is to our personal detriment, and disadvantage.

Do not let pride keep you from asking God for forgiveness, and bringing prayers of petition before Him. Although you might instinctively bristle and say ‘it’s not pride’ I assure you it is, because pride is the one thing that keeps us from seeking God’s forgiveness.

We acknowledge our imperfections, we acknowledge our shortcomings, we acknowledge our weaknesses, and as such, the only reason we would not be asking God for forgiveness, is if pride had wormed its way into our hearts, and attempted to prevent us from humbling ourselves.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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