Editor’s note: As the nation observes the National Day of Prayer Thursday, The Layman Online offers this equipping study written by Carmen Fowler LaBerge in April/May of 2011 called “A Time for Strategic Prayer.”
A Time for Strategic Prayer
From the private, personal prayers of David recorded in the Psalms, to the prayers of Jesus recorded in the gospels, to the corporate prayers offered by prophets, priests and kings and the prayers of Paul offered on behalf of the early church, the Bible is filled with the ongoing dialogue between God and His praying people.
The prayers of God’s people are offered in a myriad of contexts ranging from celebratory worship, to battlefields, to lonely dark nights of the soul. They are offered in every posture and sometimes in sighs and groans too deep for words. They are offered by men, women and children, warriors, priests, publicans, widows, apostles and the Lord Jesus Himself.
Three things can be said of every Biblical prayer.
- First, they are offered by believing people to a personal God by the power of His Holy Spirit.
- Second, they are heard, received and answered according to God’s perfect will and in God’s perfect timing.
- The result is that divine power is unleashed in ways the world cannot explain and in measures beyond human imagining.
The prayers of God’s people in the Bible are offered at various hours, in every season, and in every circumstance of human life. These prayers bear witness to the reality that different times in life call for different kinds of prayer.
All times are suitable for prayers of adoration and praise for who God is. In every situation and every season of life we are to give thanks to God, for He is good, His steadfast love endures forever. These prayers are to always be on our hearts and on our lips. God is God, one, holy, jealous, just, merciful, perfect.
The list of God’s character attributes is worthy of prayer every day, from everyone, in every circumstance.
The regular rhythms of life provide endless fodder for logistical intercessory prayers. This is where most of us spend the majority of our prayer time. Think here “prayer list.”
How much of your prayer life is consumed with seeking God’s present help concerning the logistics of your own life and the needs of those you love best in the world?
These desires of our hearts are important to God, but they are admittedly temporal in perspective.
There are times in the life of every disciple when we acknowledge that we’re ready and willing for God to take us deeper into prayer and further into mission. We have grown weary of the status quo and God’s Spirit provokes within us a willingness to submit to His active work bringing our life into greater conformity with Jesus Christ. These are prayers of active passivity, prayers inviting God to do in and through us whatever He wills, but they are still prayed from a temporal perspective.
“What other kind of prayer is there?,” you might ask. Those prayed from an eternal perspective, focused on God’s ultimate objectives for the world. These strategic prayers capture God’s heart and seek God’s purpose, not merely our own security, healing, blessing or benefit. Strategic prayers begin and end with God: God’s will, God’s way, God’s timing.
As things are escalating, accelerating, rushing, hastening all around us, we may feel increasingly as if we’re hanging on for dear life on a roller coaster gone careening out of control.
In times that we may perceive as perilous, are we willing to acknowledge God’s ultimate sovereignty, seek God and wait for His answers, follow His counsel and His leading wherever that may lead? Are we willing to submit to God’s ultimate authority over all life, including our own, doing whatever God directs, no matter how contrary to our way of thinking? If so, then let us become Biblically equipped to engage in strategic prayer.
For resources on Thursday’s National Day of Prayer, click here.