ARE YOU PRAYING BIBLICALLY, OR ARE YOU JUST PRAYING?
Updated: Aug 16, 2018
One of the most important things a Believer can learn about prayer is to be specific when asking. Whether we are praying about a “need” or praying for a “person,” the Bible clearly teaches that our prayers should be specific. For example, Luke 22:32 tells us how Jesus prayed specifically for Simon Peter: “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.”
By contrast, “unspecific” prayer can be a mere formality and is sometimes insincere. Unspecific or routine prayer may reveal little interest, or little urgency in the heart. For example, when we just repeat certain phrases we’ve heard like, “Lead, guide and direct us,” or “Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies,” or “Bless the gift and the giver,” or “Be with the lost” - that kind of prayer may be no more sincere than when we sometimes say to a person, “Have a nice day!”
When I lead prayer conferences in churches I am sometimes asked to teach believers how to pray specifically and powerfully for ministers and missionaries. Although most Christians mean well, prayers like, “Bless my pastor,” or “Bless all the missionaries” hardly touch the specific, urgent and most important needs of those who, because of the importance of their work to the kingdom of God, are targeted daily by the devil.
And so I encourage you with this: As much as is possible, especially when you pray for people, pray personally, specifically – naming that person’s name. Let me illustrate: If I was sick in the hospital, and I desired the prayers of God’s people for my healing, I would not want the prayers on my behalf to be, “And God, be with the sick.” I would desire instead, that Believers pray, “Father, I agree with the prayer that Your Son is praying - as He intercedes for Rick Astle, according to Your will for Rick’s life - and my request is for his complete healing in the powerful name of Jesus.”
Finally, remember that even specific prayer is contingent upon a clean heart. Specificity and boldness in prayer are effective - only as we come to the Father with a repentant, humble heart.
Let me assure you of this: When clean hands are lifted up to heaven, God's "great delight" is to fill those hands!