This is unfortunately a big problem for some people- maybe even you. That is, asking God for specific things. Why do you think that is? Do you find it ungrateful? Demanding? Or maybe you feel it is just inappropriate after all God has already done for us at the cross?
I understand that, and would probably feel the same way if it were not for these three things:
1. God tells us to ask Him for what we need
God is a giver. He loves to give! But He requires that we ask Him. Why is that? Because He wants to have a relationship with us. Notice how Jesus calls Him, “Father”. That is a big indicator right there.
“…for the Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him, in this manner, therefore, pray…” Matthew 6:8, 9a
Jesus clearly says that even though God knows what you need, you need to ask Him for it.
James says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2b
In Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer Jesus goes on to give us an illustration of how to pray for the things we need. A friend went to another friend to ask specifically for three loaves of bread. And he got them. He knew exactly what he needed and asked for it, specifically.
My wife and I have done this for years and have many stories of extremely specific prayers answered. I shared a few of these in last Sunday’s message, The Pathway to Peace. Listen HERE for the full message.
2. God tells us to ask with confidence.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15
He wants you to ask boldly, not sheepishly!
I remember one time when my wife and I were supposed to be leaving for a Christmas dinner party at our pastor’s home with the entire staff. I went into our bedroom to see if she was ready and she was lying in bed, incapacitated with a migraine. I went into the side room and asked God to heal her. I went back into the bedroom and she was not healed. I went back into our side room and asked God about it. He said, ‘You did not pray with confidence.” When He said this to me the above Scripture came to mind. So, this time I got quiet and waited until I knew that I had connected with faith deep in my heart. Then I prayed again. I got up and went into our bedroom and she was completely healed!
One of the keys to asking specifically, with confidence, is knowing that it is in God’s will. On this point, I have found that His will is a whole lot bigger, and better, than we think it is. We can be so small minded when it comes to God’s goodness and willingness that we struggle to get our specific needs met, let alone some of our desires. But that is for another post.
Regarding Hope, I knew it was God’s will for her to be healed because the Scriptures are clear on this matter (See Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:17). This is why it is critical that you are in the Word.
God’s Word is God’s will.
3. God gets more glory from specific prayers
Whenever I hear a testimony, the more specific it is the greater reaction there is from those listening. Why is that? Because the more specific the answered prayer is the clearer it is that only God could have done that! This shines more light on Him – which is what to glorify means – to shine the light on someone or something.
For instance, when I tell the story of how I asked God for five-thousand dollars to start a prayer garden for my wife as she goes through chemo, and how a single mom in our church gave Hope a check for five-thousand dollars two days later, people are blown away. And the people who are most amazed are the pre-believers. This is much more impactful to them than if I said, “I prayed for God to provide for a prayer garden and He did.”
In closing I would like to say that these kinds of testimonies not only build your faith, and the faith of those around you, but also your kids! The Bible tells us to tell the next generation the marvelous works of God so that they will trust Him too.
Be specific in your prayers and it will move you one step closer to the “peace that passes your understanding.” Philippians 4:7
Q. If you do not pray specific prayers, why not?
Q. What part of this post do you think will help you become more comfortable with praying specific prayers?
Q. What specific prayer would you be willing to pray right now?