Don't Ask Me To Pray

I always find it rather amusing when people ask for prayer but say "God knows my need," and won't trust you with whatever they are asking you to pray for. This is like sending soldiers off to war when they have no clue what they're fighting for or what the overall objective is.

At times, prayer is simple conversation with God. Other times, it is an intense battle being waged in the spiritual realm.

When asking for prayer from those you trust, it's important to first be vulnerable enough to share with them the specific target (need or request) that you are asking them to hit on your behalf. Don't disrespect them by wasting their time wondering how to pray. In the end, most people pray half-hearted, meaningless prayers simply because they have no clue what they are praying for. Or, worse yet, they end up praying for the wrong thing!

"But, what if I don't want to broadcast my need to everyone?" Simple answer: Then don't ask everyone to pray for your need!

Select the few people you trust enough to be vulnerable, open, and honest with, and ask them to pray for you or your need and entrust them with your issue.

Another piece of advice is not to request people to "storm" or "flood" the gates of Heaven. This implies that the more people you get to pray on your behalf, the more you will convince God to do your will and not His. This request also diminishes the power of one person's prayer, implying that one person's prayer is week and, therefore, more people are needed to make the prayer more powerful.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. - James 5:16 NKJV

Trust me when I say, one individual's heart-felt prayer can be equally, if not more, powerful than sometimes an entire congregation of prayers.

The truth is God already knows your need. In all reality, does He really need us to remind Him of it, as if He is busy with other requests and forgot or is ignoring it? Does He really need anyone to "storm" His gates with prayers like a bunch of picketers bringing your cause to His attention?

However, God tells us we should pray for one another because prayer exercises discipline, deploys our faith, and enacts humility.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NRSV

Don't get me wrong, by all means corporate prayer is extremely important! I do believe there is power in corporate prayer (Matthew 18:20), and highly encourage it! But prayer of any kind, whether corporate or individual, is useless outside God's will. So, praying selfishly or asking others to do the same is not surrendering to God's will, it's trying to overpower His will.

Jesus modeled how we should pray by saying, "Our Father in Heaven, blessed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven..." (Matthew 6:9-13 - my own translation). He didn't flood Heaven's gates with a list of His own requests.

Only after acknowledging His desire for God's will to be done first and foremost, did he then make His request known (give us this day, our daily bread...).

Yet, He did not impose His will but rather surrendered it to God's will and trusted the outcome.

Even when the outcome may be disappointing and not according to your wishes, it's imperative that you trust your heavenly Father to know the details and choose the correct result.

For instance, I had a friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness at a very young age. She had a loving husband and two beautiful small children. We prayed fervently for her and I believed strongly the Lord was going to heal her and let her live. In the end, she passed away, leaving all of us shocked and deeply grieved. Although I admit I was disappointed with God's decision, it wasn't long that I was reminded we got EXACTLY what we prayed for.

She was now more alive than ever on the other side of eternity! She was healed completely and living far better than any of us on earth. Did that comforting fact change my disappointment? No.

But, it strengthened my faith and revealed to me that we were selfishly praying our will for her to live out of compassion for her and her young family. Yet we failed to pray for God's will, which was to heal, deliver, and set her free from the pains of this world. And He had her family's best interest in mind, too. No, I don't understand why her departure was necessary, but that's not my business. I don't need to know.

In conclusion, learn how to pray effective, fervent prayers. Intercede for one another. Honor those whom you ask to intercede on your behalf by being honest and vulnerable. Don't waste their time or disrespect their trust by leaving them blind to the need. And, pray according to God's will without imparting your own.

After all, He is your most trusted adviser, biggest cheerleader, strongest advocate, most loving Father and friend, and all that He does is in your favor and best interest, even when the answers sometimes don't make sense.

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Leo Pacheco | Personal Development | Life Coach | Innovative Strategist