“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (I John 5:14-15, NKJV).

Have you ever wondered what you should ask for when you pray?  We certainly want to pray according to God’s will, and one of the best ways to do that is to use scriptures as the basis for your prayers.

One of my favorite scripture passages is a prayer recorded in Colossians by Paul and Timothy.  They ask God to help the church of Colosse in ways still needed by Christians today.  Their prayer offers a great example for leaders like us who should make the same petitions for ourselves and those we influence.

Paul and Timothy stated, “We … do not cease to prayer for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9, NKJV).  We often hear of people being filled with anxiety or fear, but isn’t it better to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will?  God wants to reveal His plan to us so that we know His will every day.  When we view situations through natural eyes alone, we’re often filled with the cares of the world.  But when we ask God for practical wisdom and spiritual insight, He fills us with truth and causes us to see with a proper perspective.

Paul and Timothy also prayed that the church members would “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).  We can certainly ask for the same.  We should live to please God, not man.  When we do, He will crown our efforts with success.  He doesn’t want us feeling like we’re spinning our wheels.  He wants us to be productive and to see good “fruit” come from the “seeds” we plant.  God’s deepest desire is that through it all, we will develop a closer relationship with Him.  Pray and believe that you will come to know the Lord better every day.

Next, the ministers prayed that the church would be “strengthened will all might, according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:11).  Oh, how we need the strength of God in our own lives!  While we are limited in our natural strength, there is a supernatural empowerment available that enables us to do the work of God.  He gives us endurance to keep pressing forward with joy even when our natural ability is lacking.

Finally, Paul and Timothy acknowledged the significance of “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:12).  It is important in prayer to not only ask, but to also give thanks.  I’ve found that when I feel overwhelmed, one of the best ways to renew my mind is to start voicing all the reasons I have to be thankful.  When we stop to count our blessings, we realize the truth we too often forget that God is truly amazing!  Yes, He is able to take care of every need!

So, I encourage you to take these timeless scriptures and pray them over yourself and others.  Set your faith in agreement and believe to receive what you ask for.  Indeed, “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16b, NLT).