7 ways to pray according to His agenda
One of the most helpful prayer practices you can undertake is to enlist a prayer partner—someone to pray along with you, whether in person, over the phone, or via email. If that is true (and it is), how much better would it be to make Jesus Himself your prayer partner?
“How do I do that?” you may ask.
“By praying in unison with Jesus—praying what He is praying,” I would answer. After all, that is what it really means to pray “in Jesus’ name.” When you act or speak in someone’s name, you do so because you know and pursue that person’s wishes. So making Jesus your prayer partner, so to speak, means praying according to His agenda.
“Yes, but how?” you may ask.
I would answer, “By praying the following seven prayers as often and as sincerely as possible.” According to the Bible, each is a prayer of Jesus Himself:
1) “I praise You.”
Even when He was frustrated, Jesus found reasons to praise His Father, saying (in one such instance), “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25, NIV). Talk about seeing the bright side! So praise God as frequently and fervently as you can, as that is a key to making Jesus your prayer partner.
2) “May Your will be done.”
In one of His darkest moments, Jesus asked His Father, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, NIV). Some time later, after more prayer, Jesus said, “May your will be done” (Matthew 26:42, NIV). So, like Jesus, go ahead and tell your loving heavenly Father what you want and hope for, but—however hard it may be, however long it takes—pray for God’s will to be done.
3) “Thank you.”
The most frequent prayer of Jesus recorded in scripture is a prayer of thanks. The Gospel writers all relate him “giving thanks” before feeding the multitudes and before celebrating the Passover with his closest followers and friends. And, upon arriving at the tomb of Lazarus in Bethany, He prayed aloud (before calling Lazarus out of the tomb), “Father, I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41, NIV). So partner with Jesus in giving thanks, not only at meals, but also on every possible occasion and for every circumstance.
4) “Father, glorify Your name.”
As the moment of his execution approached, Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify your name!” (Luke 23:34, NIV). His greatest concern wasn’t for His own safety and prosperity, but for God to be glorified. So, when you pray, “Father, glorify your name,” you can be confident that you are partnering with Jesus and praying in concert with Him.
5) “Protect and unify Your church.”
One of the most moving chapters in the Gospels is John 17, which records the prayer of Jesus for His followers. His prayer demonstrated holy passion and intimacy as He prayed, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11, NIV). So partner with Jesus in praying for God to protect and unify His church around the world.
6) “Forgive them.”
In the midst of his execution, Jesus prayed for those whose very actions would cause not only his pain but also his death: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV). So, like Jesus, pray for others to be forgiven—even those who have hurt or offended you.
7) “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Jesus echoed the words of a psalm attributed to His ancestor David (31:5) when He prayed on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46, NIV). It is a prayer that has been prayed for centuries as part of the evening prayers in the daily liturgy many Christians observe. So why not pray with Jesus, perhaps even every night, consciously and reverently placing yourself, your spirit, your life, your concerns, your future, your hopes and your dreams, into his loving and omnipotent care?
If you regularly and sincerely pray these seven prayers, you will not only pray in partnership with Jesus; you will become more and more like Him in your praying . . . and in your living.