How Should We Pray? - The Warrior's Journey®

How Should We Pray?

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5). 

The year was AD 42, about twelve years after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. James the apostle had just been put to death by King Herod Agrippa I. And when the King realized that killing apostles scored him political points with the people, he proceeded to arrest the foremost of the apostles, Peter. 

Now King Herod took every precaution to make sure Peter stayed in prison. The apostles had a reputation for making miraculous escapes from jail and the King wasn’t about to let Peter slip through his fingers. So Herod assigned four squads of soldiers to guard Peter. But while Peter awaited execution, the church prayed fervently for Him. 

But what specifically was the church praying for?  Were they praying for his release and deliverance from death? It’s quite possible that the sudden death of James made the church realize that the apostles were not invulnerable and that without God’s intervention, Peter would probably be killed. Could the church have concluded that it should have prayed fervently for James and did not want to repeat that omission again? Were believers coming to understand that they could not only pray for strength to accept and endure their circumstances, but to also shape those circumstances?   

In response to their prayers God sent His angel to deliver Peter from prison and give him many more years of fruitful service on earth. God used the prayers of His people to execute His purpose on the earth. Through their prayers, believers thwarted the schemes of the devil and overthrew the plans of a wicked king. Why else would Jesus command us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?   

Evidently Jesus intends to use our prayers to bring about His will and kingdom. 

You know, we can easily reason our way out of praying altogether. “If God wants such and such to happen, He can make it happen without my prayers or intervention.”  I am convinced that this is not the proper Christian attitude. God shares with us His love and concern for unbelievers and burdens our hearts to pray for them and witness to them. God shares his love and concern for the fate of this nation and burdens our hearts to pray for America. Let’s pray as God burdens our hearts, knowing that through our prayers to the Almighty, we can rule the world and bring about its redemption. 


  • You say that you don’t feel that burden to pray? Then does your apathy come from God? Is your lack of concern for the eternal fate of sinners one of the fruits of the Spirit? If God is passionate for the salvation of the world, shouldn’t we be? 
  • If all heaven rejoices when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10), shouldn’t we be in tune with heaven?   
  • Let’s pray without ceasing. The saints can rule the world through their prayers. 

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