The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Specificity In Prayer"
How specific should we be in our praying? The question involves the realization of the enormity of walking with God in loving and trusting fellowship.
"Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).
"We know not what to pray for as we ought" (Romans 8:26).
Obviously, we pray about matters based on the information we have, which is usually quite limited in earthly terms, and even more so, in Heavenly terms. This includes praying for ourselves, for others, and for the world in which we live. What do we perceive as needing to happen in the circumstances, conditions, and situations that lead us to approach our Heavenly Father in prayer? Even more, what are the heart needs of those for whom we pray, and most importantly, what must God do to fulfill His primary purpose of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ as He answers our prayers?
The Bible provides light regarding each of these questions. Indeed, the best way to grow in the "effectual, fervent prayer" that "availeth much" involves better knowing God's purpose as revealed in Scripture, and praying accordingly (James 5:16). We also do well to carefully - and of course, prayerfully - consider the prayers recorded in Scripture offered by Moses, David, the prophets, Paul, and most importantly, the Lord Jesus. Such consideration will surely lead us to pray more in accordance with God's glory, His will, the needs of others and ourselves, and His working in the world. "I will pray with the understanding" (I Corinthians 14:15).
It remains true, however, that prayer offered to an infinite God by beings such as ourselves will always bear elements of "we know not what to pray for as we ought." This is precisely as it should be since prayer is far more about God fulfilling His purposes than satisfying our needs and desires. "Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). This raises again the issue of specificity in prayer. While a place certainly exists for communicating our perspective regarding what God must do in a matter, it can also be true that we succumb to pride when we get too pointed in our praying. Without being irreverent, I sometimes wonder if our Father must respond to some requests with, "So, you think that is what I should do?"
Certainly, we pray with some specificity, based on our understanding of God, His Word, and life as we encounter it. However, nothing more calls us to humility than the privileged responsibility of communion with the infinite and eternal God. He knows exactly what He must do in the matters about which we pray, and blesses us with participation in His working. Thus, we do well to remember "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). We also do well to remember ours is not. Such awareness will lead us to less wordiness in our prayers, a good thing, but also to more wisdom as we ask God to perform that which He sees fit as the best course of His actions in response to our requests.
"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones and caused me to pass by them round about. And, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Proverbs 30:5)