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Flight Attendant or Combat Soldierby Duane Mabee on August 11, 2021
When you pray and say “Amen”, what would happen if God immediately said “yes” to everything you asked Him for? If He granted every request exactly the way you wanted Him to how would the Kingdom of God be advanced? The truth is, if God granted most of our requests, we would successfully keep the Christians we know comfortable and out of heaven, while leaving most of the non-Christians unchanged and headed toward a catastrophic future.
It’s good to pray for the health and welfare of the people we know. Paul told us to let our requests be made known to God, (Phil. 4:6 ESV). James told us to pray for people to be healed. But if that’s the only way we pray, we’re focused on keeping people healthy, comfortable and alive. When you study the recorded prayers in the Bible, though, that’s not what you see people pray for the most. It’s not what the Biblical writers encourage us to pray for the most, either. Far more often you see prayers that would advance God’s Kingdom if and when God’s says “yes”.
Jesus taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He prayed for His followers to be united in love just as He and His Father are, so that the world will know that He is God’s Son. Jesus prayed for spiritual protection for those who belong to Him.
The early church prayed for boldness to speak the Word of God with power. Paul prayed to be delivered from unbelievers and that his service would be acceptable, so he could continue to be effective in his mission for Christ. He asked God to give believers wisdom and revelation, to open the eyes of their hearts, to help them know the love of God and be strengthened in their inner being, all so they could be sanctified and powerful and effective in their walk with Christ. Paul encouraged us to pray for salvations.
Epaphras prayed for the church he loved to be mature and fully assured in all the will of God. Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all prayed prayers of corporate repentance and sought God for the restoration of the worship of God among His people. All of these prayers focused on advancing the Kingdom of God.
If we primarily pray for Christians to be healthy and comfortable, we are like flight attendants making sure that everyone on the plane is as comfortable as possible until the flight is over. God put us here to be combat soldiers, who do everything we can to accomplish His mission and win the war. Our prayers should reflect that mission. Our prayers should be primarily Kingdom advancing prayers. When God says “yes” to our prayers, His Kingdom on earth should be larger and better established.