If our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, then shouldn’t that be modeled in our prayers? In group intercession times, I’m struck by how prayer requests are almost always for individual, temporal concerns.
There’s nothing wrong with praying for Bob’s hip, traveling mercies for Mildred, Earl’s adjustment to college life, or that second-cousin Bobby would grow up big and strong. However, instead of prayer laundry lists befitting a pagan, how about God-centered and distinctly Christian prayers? These are brief and lacking examples, but they seem closer to the things that preoccupied the apostles: that our denomination would be shielded from false teachers, that our congregation would be knit together in love, that we be given greater measures of grace to bear fruit, that we we come to recognize our sin and more greatly appreciate the righteousness and mercy of Christ, that we would boldly declare and glorify Christ before a perishing world, that we would know what it is to “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8), etc. Some of these may seem general, but (a) the church can always use more “we” and (b) it can easily be adapted to specific circumstances. For example, when praying for Bob’s hip, we might pray that he would know that his momentary afflictions are preparing him for an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17). Or we might pray that God’s grace in helping him cope would be a lasting witness to unbelievers.