What Should We Pray For?
One way to answer this question is to look at what the early church prayed for. Here is a list gathered from the New Testament. It can guide you in how you pray. I suggest that periodically you pray through this list just to test whether your prayers are leaving out anything the New Testament included. We don't have to pray all of these each time we pray. But over time it would be good if our prayers had the breadth and depth of the New Testament prayers.
Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Matthew 6:9).
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10 ).
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13; cf. Ephesians 3:19).
And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? (Luke 18:7).
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved (Romans 10:1).
"Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying through all prayer and supplication on every occasion.. ." (Ephesians 6:17-18)
Pray at all times in the Spirit... and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19) And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness (Acts 4:29).
And now Lord... grant your servants to speak thy word with boldness... while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:30).
Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit (James 5:17 -18).
Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up (James 5:14-15).
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery; and Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him (Acts 28:8).
And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer" (Mark 9:29)
So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church... When he realized [he had been freed], he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying (Acts 12:5, 12 ). But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake (Acts 16:25-26).
But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up (Acts 9:40).
Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him (James 1:5).
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed (Acts 14:23).
Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38).
While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:2-3).
I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, (Romans 15:30- 31).
I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20-21).
[We are] praying earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? ( 1 Thessalonians 3:10).
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-10).
And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).
[We have not ceased to pray for you to be] increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10 ; cf.Ephesians 1:17 ).
I bow my knees before the Father... that you may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:14,18 ).
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers... that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:16,18 ).
[We have not ceased to pray for you to be] strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:11 ; cf. Ephesians 3:16).
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers... that you may know... what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:16, 19 ).
I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren (Luke 22:32).
Watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36).
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 ; cf.Ephesians 3:17).
Lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
[We have not ceased to pray for you that you] lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work (Colossians 1:10).
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).
Deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13).
©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation.