When people ask for prayer, I’m sure it is with the best intentions. But the way they ask may not be yielding the best results. I’ve done it, maybe you have too…I’m talking about vague requests or ”the unspoken prayer” petition.
Here is the problem with that: faith begins where the will of God is known. When we ask people to pray and do not tell them what the need is, it's challenging for them to direct their prayers accurately. You may say, “But I just pray they will be blessed or their needs will be met.” And that’s okay. But according to the nature of prayer, it’s probably not doing a whole lot.
The Title Deed Means Ownership
The “prayer of faith” is called that for a reason. We derive our faith from the holy, written, unchangeable, forever settled, Word of God. We bite into a Scripture or two and use our sword knowing that if what we are asking is in the Word, the answer is as good as done. That’s faith--having the title deed to the answer, until the answer shows up. It’s like having your name on the title deed of your house before it is fully paid for. It’s still your house. That’s what faith is: It’s a symbol of ownership.
But when people ask us to pray, and give us no detail, how do we know where to direct our faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen with the 5 physical senses. (Hebrews 11:1) It is truly difficult to pray with any fervor when we have no idea what we are praying about or what the Word says about the situation.
Sing The Same Tune
We always have the ability to pray in the Spirit. But I am speaking specifically here of praying in agreement with someone who has asked for prayer. Matthew 18:19 says, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”. The word agree means to make a symphony or be in harmony.
Can you imagine two musicians taking the stage and you think you are going to hear a duet, but one plays the National Anthem and the other plays, How Great Thou Art? Agreement. Symphony. Harmony. Focused prayer. They both need to agree on a song. They need to play the same tune. The song can’t be known to one and the other just takes a stab at what they “think” it might be.
I heard Brother Kenneth E. Hagin, a pioneer of the Word of Faith movement, say that over 50% of the prayer requests he received simply said, “Pray for me”, with no further details. On one occasion he shook hands with a man who said, “Brother Hagin, pray for me,” and the man tried to keep walking away. Brother Hagin held onto his hand and said, “Pray for what?” The man shrugged and said, “I don’t know, Just pray.” Brother Hagin said there was no point praying for the man because he didn’t even know what he wanted. That would have been some faithless prayer!
Faith begins where the will of God is known. Faith BEGINS where the will of God is KNOWN.
If the prayer request is ultra sensitive, it is best to call a prayer line where you remain anonymous, confide in your pastor or a trusted friend or two. But I become disheartened when I see someone throw a “pray for me, y’all” or “unspoken need” or “God knows” prayer request out on social media. The request is usually followed by a barrage of well meaning people who post emojis of praying hands. The intentions of the one asking for prayer and the ones who say they are praying are good. Very good.
But how can we pray in faith, when we have no idea what we are praying about? Because faith BEGINS where the will of God is KNOWN.
Specificity Is Vital
The lepers came to Jesus and asked specifically to be cleansed. Mordecai gave Esther specific instructions about the impending slaughter of the Jews so she and her maidens could fast and pray. Do you see the difference?
Jairus wanted his daughter to be healed. He did not say, “Jesus, if you think of it, pray for my child.” Pray what? Did she run away from home? Is she socially backward? Does she have a speech impediment? In Matthew 9 we read that Jairus came to Jesus--worshipped Him-- and told Jesus that his daughter had died. Now here is the request, come to my house and lay your hand on my daughter. Then Jairus declared that if Jesus did this, his daughter would live. Talk about specificity!
If we want our prayers to be answered--not a little relief--but a bona fide answer to prayer, we must pray Scripturally. And to pray Scripturally, prayer needs to be in faith. To pray in faith, we must know the will of God on the matter. And to know what the will of God is, we must pinpoint the need.
Stop Magnifying The Enemy
Side note--I’ve also noticed on social media, prayer requests for healing, but prior to the request the one in need will outline their symptoms in great detail, “I threw up at this time and again two hours later…” Then after four sentences about their symptoms, they will say, “Pray for me.”
When I saw a few of these types of requests, I heard this word in my spirit: magnify. What happens when you use a magnifying glass? You see every little detail of something. When you talk about your symptoms in great detail, give unnecessary specifics, and give more time and attention to them than what God has promised, you are magnifying the sickness over healing. You are giving the devil more attention than what Jesus did when He purchased your healing.
I was a news reporter for a while. Whoever we were magnifying in a particular day’s newspaper, got the front page. When you go on and on about the symptoms, you are giving the devil top billing. You are giving him the lead story.
I like how Jairus handled the situation. He minimized the problem by simply saying his daughter was dead. Then he maximized the answer--come to my house, lay your hand on her, she will live. Jesus Raises The Dead would have been the headline in the Galilee Gazette!
Hit The Target
If you need healing or have any need, ask for agreement by all means! But let others know what Scripture you are already standing on so that their faith can be added to yours. Enlighten your prayer warriors so they know which direction to aim their weaponry. That’s what "calling in reinforcements" is all about.
Let’s hit the target and pray the prayer of faith instead of no-faith prayers. Let’s minimize the enemy’s work and magnify Jesus’ victory--in our bodies and in all areas of life. After all, He came to give us life and life more abundantly!