We are told to “pray without ceasing,” (I Thes. 5:17) and there is plenty to pray about: our leaders (I Tim. 2:2), those who hate and persecute us (Matt. 5:44), for everyone (I Tim. 2:1) and everything (Phil. 4:6). BUT, what I found very interesting is that Bounds believes prayer is for the present.
I could try to paraphrase everything he said, but I think it best if I just let him speak for himself.
First, he reminds us that in the Lord’s prayer we pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” and by doing so we are “in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow, but in today” (16).
Bounds continues by saying “They thrive best, and get the most out of life, who live in the living present. We do not seek tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s bread. They pray best who pray for today’s needs, not for tomorrow’s, which may render our prayers unnecessary and redundant by not existing at all! (16-17)
Finally, he says that “True prayers are born out of present trials and present needs. Bread for today is bread enough. Bread given today is the strongest sort of pledge that there will be bread tomorrow. Victory today, is the assurance of victory tomorrow. Our prayers need to be focused on the present. We must trust God today, and leave tomorrow entirely with him. The present is ours; the future belongs to God. Prayer is the task and duty of each recurring day––daily prayer for daily needs” (17).
So when we come to God in prayer, let’s pray for today and leave tomorrow in His hands. Remember Jesus did tell us “. . . [to] not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Amen to that.
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The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 1990.