The prayers of the apostles recorded in the new testament provide disciples with a wealth of vocabulary and content to fuel our prayer lives. Three things about these examples which can keep us on course and fruitful through the decades. The prayers are:
To the Lord
We don’t have a record of the early disciples praying to anyone other than the Lord. They don’t address angels, or saints, or Mary, or territorial spirits, or demons, or any other kind of power. They offer requests again and again to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the church
With the exception of Paul’s prayer that Israel may be saved in Romans 11, every pray we have in the epistles is for the church, and, even more specifically, for the church in a city. Now, we are called to offer all kinds of requests, on all kinds of occasions, for leaders, for circumstances, for our enemies and many other things – but the meat and drink is for the church.
About the positive
It is striking that we never hear of Paul, or Peter or James or the gang praying for the removal of the negative. There is no prayer-with-a-sideways glance asking for the diminishing of particular sins. It’s “Lord, more love, more grace, more power on this bunch”. It’s more of the good, not less of the bad.
If the meat and drink of our prayer life is to the Lord, for the church, about the positive… well, then things could really get interesting…