BP Toolbox

3 ways you can pray for more

Adobe Stock Photo. Do not publish.

What if God wants us to pray for more? Most of us believe we should pray more, but should we pray for more? In other words, is our prayer list too thin?

The founder of the Navigators, Dawson Trotman, thought Christians should pray for more. He once said, “Do you know why I often ask Christians, ‘What’s the biggest thing you’ve asked God for this week?’ I remind them that they are going to God, the Father, the Maker of the Universe. The One who holds the world in His hands. What did you ask for? Did you ask for peanuts, toys, trinkets, or did you ask for continents?” Trotman taught that we should pray for God-sized agendas. Was he right?

What we pray for now

In a 2022 study of the prayer habits of Americans, researchers found that 64 percent of those who pray are seeking God’s help to make decisions. More than half of us pray for forgiveness. Less than half pray about relationships, and 44 percent of us frequently pray for better health.

All of these are good things to pray about, but they all revolve around our own interests. Should we pray for more? Scripture challenges the smallness of our praying, and numerous passages suggest that God wants us to pray Kingdom-sized prayers.

Jesus calls for more

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us history’s most famous prayer.  He advised us to pray like this, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) That is a God-sized prayer! It asks a lot. In regard to this prayer, Greg Laurie once said, “If His Kingdom is going to come, my kingdom has got to go.” In other words, praying for more will always bring our small, self-serving interests into conflict with His bigger, Kingdom plans.

Jesus called His first followers to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” (v. 10) directly in the hardened face of the political and military dominance of the brutal Roman Empire. He called them to defy, in prayer, the world’s powers. At the time, few, if any, leaders were impressed by Jesus and his untrained, blue-collar followers. Yet, in less than 300 years, the Roman Emperor himself would become a disciple of Jesus.  Prayer power is greater than political power. 

Today, He calls us to pray, “Your kingdom come,” in the face of the savage brutality of Hamas, and the death culture of drug trafficking, and the abortion industry, and spiritual blindness oppressing billions of people around the world, and every other kind of godless inhumanity.

Our prayer lives are not designed to maintain the status quo. We pray like ground troops advancing behind enemy lines. 

God promises more

God insists on talking to you, and He won’t take no for an answer. Prayer is a dialogue. It’s a conversation between God and His people. He said, “Call…I will answer.” (Jer. 33:3) As followers of Christ, how can we refuse God’s invitation to pray, especially since He promises to answer? After all, answered prayer can change history. 

For instance, in 1727 Count Nicholaus Von Zinzendorf, a Christian Pietist from Saxony, Germany, was sheltering 300 persecuted Moravian Christian refugees from the modern-day Czech Republic. They had formed a community called Herrnhut on Zinzendorf’s land and were praying for revival.  

They knew revival was the result of prayer; so, when it came, they committed to pray 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That 24/7 prayer meeting lasted continuously unbroken for over 100 years.

Major Christian movements, related in some way to the Moravian Prayer Meeting, took place during the 100 years, including the first and second Great Awakenings in America. The beginning of the Modern Mission movement, the conversion of John Wesley, the Evangelical Awakening in Europe led by Wesley, and the end of the slave trade in England through William Wilberforce’s work also occurred.

God calls us to pray for more. And when He does, He always shows us “great and mighty things.” (v. 3)

We can intercede more

The motivational speaker Rudy Ruettiger likes to say, “I have learned two things in my life: there is a God, and I am not him.” Behind the humor is a serious question: Why does God concern Himself with us or our prayers at all? After all, He is God.

Nowhere are the irrefutable truths of the sovereignty of God and the necessity of prayer more on display than in the life and teachings of Jesus. In one classic example He said, “…The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37-38)

As Paul Billheimer in Destined for the Throne, using theological hyperbole for effect, reasons, “He Himself is the Lord of the harvest. The harvest is His. The laborers are His. Why should He stand ‘helplessly‘ by while urging men to pray reapers into the fields? Why does He send fourth laborers only in answer to the prayers of the redeemed?” Obviously, God is not helpless; but He has, in His sovereign will, linked the fulfillment of His plans to our prayers. It’s mind-boggling, but it’s true. This must be the reason E. M. Bounds once said, “God shapes the world by prayer.”

The fact that Jesus instructed us to pray so that God would do what He already wants to do is all the evidence we need. Our prayers, as Martin Luther taught, do not overcome God’s reluctance; they lay hold of His willingness.

 When we consider these Scriptures (and there are many others) and realize the stakes are high and so much is on the line when we pray, we are left with no choice. Warren Wiersbe was right when he said, “The purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth.” In light of eternity and the lateness of the hour, we must pray for more.

    About the Author

  • Kie Bowman

    Kie Bowman is senior pastor emeritus of Hyde Park Baptist Church and The Quarries Church in Austin, Texas and the SBC National Director of Prayer.

    Read All by Kie Bowman ›