December 2: “Why Do You Pray?”

5 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Daniel 9:1–11:1
1 John 2:18–3:6
Psalm 121:1-8
Proverbs 28:27-28

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Daniel 9:19 (NLT): “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Daniel 9:19 is a prayer. It is a request for God to hear and forgive. It is a prayer that asks God to observe what is going on and to act.

But, the power of this prayer is not found in the requests. It is found in the motivation.

Why did Daniel call upon God to hear his prayer and answer it? It was because Daniel made it a God-centered prayer. It focused on God’s glory (his goodness as seen by people). Listen again to the prayer:

Daniel 9:19 (NLT): “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”

Sure, Daniel and the Jewish people would benefit. But, Daniel recognized that it wasn’t ultimately about them. It was about God. If the Jewish people were perceived by others as a defeated people, then their God would not be glorified (his goodness would not be seen by others). So, Daniel was asking God to help and bless His people for His Name’s sake.

Friend, the next time you pray, listen to what you are asking for and pay attention to why you are asking for it. Are your prayers self-centered, or are they God-centered?

It just might be that God would be pleased to answer your prayers if you adjusted your motive.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to spend more time in prayer and help me to enjoy it. But I also want to be more careful in the motives behind my requests. Help me to focus much more upon You. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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