When you hear a prayer request, do you really pray about it?
When you say, “I’ll add that to my prayer list,” do you really pray about it?
How many times have you been in a church-related meeting or small group that includes a prayer request time? We go around the room and each person states a prayer request or praise.
I struggle with that format. On a heart level, I understand that it’s a mechanism for us to share and trust one another. On a head level, I have often wondered how often that prayer request is truly prayed over. Does anyone in the group actually go home and pray about the request? Is it just a side note on the class roster? Does it just become a list of items on a list? Is it a method of “checking the box” that we took a moment to “get to know someone”? Do others feel like they have to share? Is that why we often hear, “unspoken prayer request”?
In some regards, I’ve felt a sense of obligation to share. For a long time, I felt compelled to come up with something to add to the prayer request time. I decided to stop feeling that obligation. That means that when I do share a prayer request with an individual or a group that it’s one that is pressing on my heart and that I trust that particular group to truly pray about the situation.
I believe that there is sanctity in the act of sharing a prayer request. There is sanctity in receiving a prayer request. There is sanctity in praying over someone else’s prayer request.
As detailed in several scriptures, God wants us to bring prayers to Him. He wants us to grow with one another. He wants us to keep each other accountable. Jesus taught us how to pray.
If God wants us to come to him in prayer and there is sanctity in sharing a prayer request, then we better be Christians of our word and actually follow through with praying.
In James 5:16 (NIV), we read “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective.”
The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective.
That statement alone reminds us that God wants us to be prayer warriors. In order to be effective prayer warriors, we must remember one another in prayer. The act of requesting prayer should be sacred. And the act of praying on behalf of someone should be sacred too.
Some of my most special prayer requests that I’ve asked for or received have come through one-on-one time with someone rather than in a group setting.
If a friend invites you into their heart by asking for prayers, listen carefully to how she words the request. If she began the request with “I haven’t told anyone this…” then know that it might be code for “please don’t repeat this.” That means she wants it kept as a secret.
Not only should we truly pray for a request when it is asked, but we also need to honor the desires of those who are requesting the prayers. If there is a desire to keep it quiet, then keep it quiet. If there is a desire to share, then share…with discretion.
Here are a few tips to remember how prayer requests are special:
– Know that God hears your prayer request well before any human ears do
– If you say you’ll pray for someone, do it
– When you ask for prayer, do it without a sense of obligation
– Keep the prayer request to yourself, unless you have permission to share
Remember the sanctity of a prayer request. Become the righteous person whose prayer is powerful and effective!
Please come to the porch and tell us how we can pray for you this week.
Pray without ceasing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)