[From Lauris Shepherd, one of our Elders]
One approach to take in discerning what to pray, particularly for individual needs, is to consider what the natural person in me (my flesh) desires … and then consider the opposite.
Galatians 5:16-17 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
When we experience discomfort (that can mean pain, sorrow, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, doubt, rejection, etc.) our immediate reaction is to pray for relief – “God, change that person, deliver me from these circumstances, take away this pain, fix it or get me out of here…). Rather, ask God how He wants to change you/grow your faith/perfect His work in you/accomplish His purpose through the situation and ask Him to do it.
“In every situation of our lives – in times of obvious blessing or in times of trial, large or small – God has a purpose in mind, and so does Satan. Basically, Satan always wants to bring about the opposite of what God has in mind. God wants to draw us closer to Himself; Satan wants to draw us away. God wants to strengthen our faith; Satan wants to weaken it,… God wants to purify our character; Satan wants to corrupt it. God wants to liberate us from worldly values; Satan wants to entangle us, to whet our appetite for the things that grieve God and dilute our passion to honor Him and please Him. God wants to increase our love for people and our readiness to forgive offenses; Satan wants to nurture bitterness and resentment.” – 31 Days of Power by Ruth Myers p. 9
Wait on the Lord while asking the Holy Spirit to pray through you. And then pray.