You are on page 1of 6

A Servant’s Heart

The Path to Christ-Like Service

A Devotional Study of
1 Peter 4: 7 – 11

By Kara H. Duckworth

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

{Day 1} Prayer for Direction

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7b; Ephesians 6: 18; Acts 1: 12 - 14

“…for the sake of your prayers.” (ESV)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (NIV)

“They all joined together constantly in prayer …” (NIV)

26 second graders stared me down as I scrambled to come up with an equitable way to decide on a reward for
filling up their class “Compliments Chart.” Well, guess what? There’s an app for that! It’s called, “Decide Now!”
(And yes, that exclamation point is part of the title.) You enter all your choices, spin the circus-like wheel, then you
get a decisive answer that no one can argue with.
Have I been tempted to use it with family decisions? You bet!

About two years ago, our family reached a crossroad. After ten years of living on the west coast, we began to see
God uprooting us once again. Our daughters were entering grad school and college in three far-flung states, our
aging parents in Virginia needed more help, and my husband’s job was changing drastically. We coached each
daughter and each parent through life-changing decisions, and then it was time to decide something for us. What’s
next, Lord?

After Jesus’ ascension, His followers were left behind with an enormous void where daily face-to-face time with
their Savior used to be. It’s not that they lacked purpose. Jesus had instructed them to be carriers of His story
throughout the world. Big changes were coming. What would this look like? They met together to wait and watch
and to pray for direction. What’s next, Lord?

You have opportunities daily to make decisions as trivial as, “Do we have pajama day or bubble gum day?” or as
life-changing as, “Do we move our family across the country?” Often, you’re called upon to advise someone who’s
looking for direction. Be prepared to pray through every decision from initial question to clear answer. Practice
hearing God’s voice each day in every decision you make. He’ll reveal what’s next.

Ponder: What decisions are you praying about right now? What’s a decision you’re facing
that you haven’t committed to prayer?

Dream a Little: How can you advise others who are facing big decisions?

Pray: Ask God to help you learn to be discerning of His voice as you make decisions. Ask
Him for wisdom in advising others.

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

{Day 2} Prayer for Enemies

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7b; Ephesians 6:18; Luke 6: 27 – 36

“…for the sake of your prayers” (ESV)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (NIV)

“bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (NIV)

Katrina had just been contacted by her lawyer. Her long and vicious custody battle was over and she had won. If
you could call it winning. She had primary custody of her three boys, but she and they had emotional scars and she
had made an enemy of their father.

“I know I should pray for him,” she said, “but what he did still hurts so much…”

In Jesus’ first recorded sermon, He taught His followers to pray for their enemies – those who hated them, cursed
them, mistreated them, physically assaulted them, stole from them, and who were ungrateful and wicked to them.
Jesus had many enemies who sought to discredit, silence, obstruct, arrest, ridicule, betray, punish, and kill Him. He
had ample opportunity to live out His own teaching; so, what did that look like?

Jesus’ own countrymen rejected Him and their leaders plotted against Him, yet He had compassion on them,
sorrowed over them, and wept for them. {See Luke 13: 34 – 35 and 19: 41 – 44} One of Jesus’ own men followed
Satan’s prompting and agreed to betray Him, yet Jesus washed his feet and shared His final meal with him. {See
John 13: 2 – 30} The Jewish leaders incited the Romans to crucify Jesus, yet He prayed that God would forgive
them. {See Luke 23: 32 – 34}

How can we pray for those who willfully mistreat us? Let Jesus show the way.

Ponder: Is there anyone in your life or in your past that you can’t bring yourself to pray for?

Dream a Little: You may encounter people that are struggling to forgive those who have
mistreated them. Be prepared to teach them to pray for their enemies.

Pray: Ask God to help you see your enemies as people in need of His grace. Pray for their
salvation, for a change of heart, for a sense of peace, for a spirit of cooperation. Pray for a
new relationship with them.

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

{Day 3} Prayer for Healing

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7b; Ephesians 6:18; James 5: 14 - 16

“…for the sake of your prayers” (ESV)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (NIV)

“confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed.” (NIV)

Bella would hands-down be selected as “Most Friendly” and “Most Outgoing” if you were handing out superlatives.
She loved to travel to visit friends and to take students on mission trips or to camps and would inevitably make
more friends along the way. We joked that we should wear buttons or t-shirts that read, “I know Bella,” because
everyone all around town, in many different contexts, seemed to know her. It would be a real ice-breaker. “Oh, you
know Bella? How do you know Bella?”

One spring evening, Bella and a few of her friends had been up really late watching a movie at Rachel’s house. They
decided to drive over to Bella’s house, only about a mile away. A bunch of them piled in the car, but the driver lost
control going around a curve and crashed. Bella had been sitting in the middle of the back seat, not wearing a
seatbelt. Upon impact, she flew through the windshield. Besides bruises, cuts, and broken bones, Bella also
suffered severe brain trauma.
Within hours of the accident, #prayforbella was trending on Twitter. Her extensive network of friends became a
network of prayer warriors, begging God for Bella’s recovery. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as
it is working.” {James 5:16b ESV}

God answered those great and powerful prayers. Today, Bella is strong, active, and traveling to see and meet
friends as much as ever. Occasionally, she experiences headaches or fogginess in making a decision, but God has
restored her sparkling personality and zest for life.

Much of Jesus’ ministry centered around healing the sick. The apostles continued that ministry as they traveled to
start churches and to preach the gospel. Jesus’ brother James indicates that the ministry of healing and prayer for
healing is now the responsibility of all believers. {James 5:16}

Our prayers are needed and they are powerful.

Ponder: Asking for prayer for healing is a humbling experience. Have you ever asked others
to pray over you for healing?

Pray: If you are in need of healing, ask God to give you humility of heart to ask others to
pray over you. Begin or continue to pray for others who need to be healed.

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

{Day 4} Prayer for Deliverance

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7b; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 15: 30 -33

“…for the sake of your prayers” (ESV)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (NIV)

“join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (NIV)

When we pray for God to deliver someone from whatever evil has entangled them, we enter into their struggle. I
love that Paul phrases it that way: “join me in my struggle.” The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it another way:
“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves
were suffering.” {Hebrews 13: 3 NIV} Enter in and pray with them for deliverance.

Amy began drinking heavily when she was a junior in high school. Her family and her church family agonized in
prayer over her, that God would deliver her. In her college years, she started using drugs. Although she later
married and had a child, Amy’s addictions had taken hold of her. When her husband couldn’t take any more, he
sought divorce and custody of their daughter. Amy was nearing 35 years old and feeling her life was a complete
waste. A counselor encouraged her to try Celebrate Recovery at her church. Amy learned, finally really understood,
that God had been holding on to her all along. She learned what it was like to enter into a community of fellow
sufferers and to truly struggle together and petition God together for deliverance.

Now, three years later, Amy is clean. She gets to see her daughter every weekend and has started dating her ex-
husband. Amy could walk away and have the life she always wanted; but she has chosen to enter back into the
struggle for deliverance with other addicts. This month, she’s so excited to begin her new chapter as a Celebrate
Recovery leader at her church.
After two decades of prayer for her, Amy’s family rejoice in how God is using Amy’s struggles in the mightiest way.
Addictions are certainly not the only thing women need deliverance from. The enemy delights in designing traps
that prey upon our weaknesses; but he wants us to think that no one else struggles with the same things. As long
as we isolate ourselves and hide our struggles, we can’t know the joy of being delivered or the fulfillment of
helping others.

Ponder: What struggles have you had in your life that you think others may identify with?
Has God delivered you or are you still in need of deliverance? Are you even ready to be

Dream a Little: How can you use your struggles or your story of deliverance to minister to

Pray: Ask God to deliver you from your struggle. Ask him to help you use your experience to
help others.

Week 4: All Kinds of Prayers

{Day 5} Prayer for Salvation

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7b; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 10: 1, 9 - 13

“…for the sake of your prayers” (ESV)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (NIV)

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (ESV)

#MeToo #TimesUp #neverTrump

Women’s March Black Lives Matter Right to Life
Confederate Monuments Government Shutdown Dreamers
Climate Change Gun Control National Anthem Kneeling

Take a look at your newsfeed on any given day and see the latest issue sure to set your blood boiling, no matter
which side you come down on. Scroll down to the comments, if you dare. Battle lines are drawn and the war of
words commences. Soon, your sensibilities sting and you’re expending an inordinate amount of brain power to
craft a barb in defense of your own belief.

Anyone on the other side of the issue is an enemy. But that might be a sister in Christ. It might be a neighbor,
coworker, family member, or classmate that needs a relationship with God. That fast, {*snap*} we’re off track.

So easily divided. So easily distracted.

Paul takes a look at his countrymen and clearly sees all the issues they’re hung up on. But Paul doesn’t swerve one
bit from the issue. Paul’s energy is expended in sharing the gospel and in praying for the salvation of his nation.

Don’t be distracted by the things that are sure to divide you from the lost. Instead, work for ways to forge a path to
reach them and lead them straight to the Savior.

Ponder: What is an issue through which you’ve burned some bridges of connection to the
lost? Is it your heart’s desire that they be saved?

Pray: Pray for the lost around you, even if you don’t know them by name. Ask God for the
opportunity to share the gospel. Ask Him for an abundant harvest.