I know what you’re thinking: So many things to pray for and so little time.
Perhaps you’ve kept a prayer journal, prayed for certain people or situations on certain days of the week, or maybe you’ve given up altogether feeling overwhelmed and thinking, “God knows it all anyway, so why should I pray?”
God commands you and I to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He wants you to pour out your heart to Him (Psalm 62:8). His desire is to not only work through the prayers of His people, but to see your delight in how your God always comes through.
Prayer is not just to satisfy the heart of God, though. Prayer changes us, molds us, makes us more dependent on God, and transforms us into the likeness of Jesus.
Here are three simple and powerful things to pray for each day to keep your eyes and heart focused on God’s kingdom.
- “Your will today, God, not mine.”
It’s natural to pray “God help me.” Or “God help my loved ones.” And while there is nothing wrong with praying that, when we focus on who God is, we can know, without a doubt, that He can care for all the other things that concern us.
Jesus instructed His followers to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NASB). And in the garden, shortly before His arrest and sacrificial death on our behalf, He prayed: “not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NASB).
God’s will is that we be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), that we stand apart as pure and holy, blameless in this crooked generation (Philippians 2:15), and that we act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). God’s will is that we seize the divine appointments He brings our way to share His love with others.
When we daily pray for God’s will and glory, not our own, it causes us to look for ways to glorify Him, to call attention to His goodness and faithfulness, to seize opportunities for worship. That not only keeps Him on the throne of our lives, instead of ourselves, but it gives us an eternal mindset so we remember our command in Colossians 3:2-3 to: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
2. “Lord, give me a longing for heaven.”
I have found that when I’m not longing for heaven it’s because I’m too comfortable here on earth. I’ve been distracted by temporary false loves, rather than keeping my eyes on my eternal First Love, Jesus. When I fail to pray “Lord, give me a longing for heaven,” I start trying to find satisfaction here on earth, where my soul was never made to be satisfied with lesser things.
When you and I pray “Lord give me a longing for heaven” it’s another way of saying “Help me to long for You, being in Your presence, worshipping You without interruption. For Only You bring true satisfaction and fulfillment.” David prayed something similar in Psalm 27:4 when he sang, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” (NASB)
Another Psalmist prayed, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26). When God becomes all we long for, we are satisfied with all we want and need.
I believe when we pray for a longing for heaven that God will “Satisfy us in the morning with [His] steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14, ESV).
3. “God, make me more like Jesus.”
God is glorified in and through us when we are transformed into the likeness of His Son. When we are Christ-like, we show the world who Jesus is. Notice I didn’t say when we tell others we are a Christian, we show the world who Jesus is. Nor did I say when we tell others how they can act like a Christian, we show the world who Jesus is. Jesus wasn’t about the rules and regulations. He was all about love.
Today many non-believers define Christians by their political views, the places and people they boycott, and the actions for which they judge others. How did that happen? Because we quit talking about Jesus and started talking more about what we believe and what we do and don’t support. Yet, Jesus said others will know His followers by their love, not by their theology or religious association or their voting records. By our love. “God, make us more like Jesus so we know how to love others.”
Jesus prayed to His Father, shortly before going to the cross “I glorified You on the earthby accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4, NASB). What is the work He has now given us to do? Jesus said “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34, emphasis added).
Will you pray with me these three simple but powerful prayers each day?
“Lord, be glorified on this earth so others will see and worship You.”
“Lord, give me a longing for heaven so my priorities, perspective, and practices will change enough to bring more people with me when I see You one day.”
“And Lord, make me more like Jesus by helping me love others as You do so they will see Your love and know You are the One true God.”
I was blessed reading this message.Thank you for this wonderful insight, this is very encouraging and will help keep one focused on God.
Thank you for your kind words. I’m encouraged that you found it helpful.
I love your heart for God ❤
Your words carry a beautiful Anointing ⚘
Thank you, Bonnie. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. Blessings as you spend time with Him in prayer. 🙂
Cindi – I love these! And the thought that if we’re not longing for heaven we’re a little too comfy in our flesh here…what a good thing to ponder and yet if we’re praying these three things, we hopefully will run in to that issue less.
Yes, Connie, I often have to return to praying for a longing for heaven. It’s so easy to get comfortable with God’s blessings — and even when we’re grateful for them, I must keep in mind that there’s so much more to come in the presence of Jesus. As always, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. 🙂
Cindi, thank you so much for this devotion. Your first and third suggestions of things to pray for each day have been part of my prayers for a number of years. However, the second suggestion to pray for a longing for heaven was not part of my prayers. I was involved in a car accident this past December, which changed my perspective. The recovery both physically and spiritually has been quite a journey. I have become “hungry” for heaven and even more desirous of being in God’s loving arms. I am so grateful for each new day, and yet, I find the things of this world do not satisfy the longing in my soul. I so desire His presence every moment of every day. Thank you for sharing the Spirit’s wisdom and discernment with us. Blessings for each and every day!
Thank you, Janet, for this beautiful testimony of how, even in tragedy like a car accident, you can turn that into a longing to be with Jesus. I’m sure my readers will be encouraged by your words, as I have been today. Thank you for giving us that perspective that life is short and to truly LIVE we must be focused on our eternal home. Blessings to you as well. 🙂
Thank you so much very much the words encouragement and the simple three ways to pray!
The Lord truly ministered to my spirit!
I needed it!
You’re welcome, Wanda. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.
Cindi, when I read this article, I was thinking about prayer. Your words are encouraging. In the morning after reading this, I had vivid dream about helping young people know their potential in Jesus. One by one many were saved and brought others to the Lord. They wanted me to speak and I said we have no chairs. A church down the way brought chairs. The Holy Spirit moved on the people and as I was walking away I looked back at what God had done. I slept thru this whole dream and when I woke from it, I heard God say, “This is how you pray.” My desire to pray is back. PTL
Hi Ramona. It’s good to hear from you. I’m so glad to hear your desire is back to pray. God always listens…and when we get quiet enough, He speaks, too. 🙂