Monday, September 26, 2011

Prayer Requests - Blessing or Burden?

Have you ever inwardly cringed when someone asked you to pray for them? Come on, admit it. Sometimes prayer requests seem more like a burden than a blessing. What if you forget? How long do you have to pray for this person? What if you really aren't concerned about their request? How shallow is that?!?

I think the problem is we have taken the reverence away from requesting prayer. I joined a Christian writer's facebook group. There were hundreds of ladies in the group (most I did not personally know). The focus of the group left writing and turned to prayer. Not even prayer for the individuals, their family or writing. But many were more like, "Please pray for my brother's cousin's sister's aunt's nephew's best friend's sister who is looking for a job." I needed a org chart or diagram just to figure out who I was praying for!

Prayer is an act of reverence, a chance to come before our God, Lord and King and sit at his feet! It is a chance to WORSHIP him. It is a chance to adore him. It is the place we were are supposed to confess our sins, and the time we thank him for the things in our lives. Then, and only then, do we present our requests. And if our requests are a laundry list of items, many for people so far removed for our lives, how can we sincerely bring them to our Lord?

At the same time, I was recently emailed by a co-worker to pray for a medical need in his family. I hadn't spoken to this person in 12 years! But I was honored that he knew I was a woman of faith, and he knew that he needed God in this situation. I prayed faithfully.

I believe it is a honor and a blessing to pray. However, I think when we blanket message boards with prayers for things far removed from every one's life, it is more of a burden than a blessing. It's not that I don't want to pray for every one's request. It's that it would be impossible to do so.

When someone asks me to pray for them in person, I like to pray immediately, and if they agree with them. That way I am honoring them by covering them with prayer, and knowing I am faithful to my word to pray. If it is not possible to pray at that time, I pray immediately after leaving them, and then as often as they come to my mind.

So how do you manage all the prayer requests you receive? When you pray, do you take time to adore God, confess your sins, and thank him...or do you simply present your laundry lists of items for him to "fix?" What are you thoughts on prayer?

As for me, I am trying to focus more on the reverence and relationship of prayer...and less on the requests.

Chatty Kelly


Loree Huebner said...

I work in a place where I see many hurting people a day.

Some ask me to pray for them or someone else. There's not much time for prayer. I tell them that I will pray for them, and I do, right I don't forget.

I always ask the first name of the person they want me to pray for...then, I give them to God. I lift them and their troubles up to God, trusting that they are in His mighty hands.

I do this several times a day while I'm at work.

I know I can't always help in the situation, but my mom always said that you can pray.

Great post.

Sonya Lee said...

I like to pray with the ACTS way: Adore God first, Confess any sins, Thank him for what he has already done and then bring my supplications to him. But there are times when I hear a need and then pray immediately. But it's not reverent or anything super, so I'm only hoping it reaches the ears of God (which I know it does) and that He's pleased.

The prayers of the saints are like a incense to the Lord. (Rev. 5:8)

I gloss over prayer requests for the far removed ones like the ones you listed. It's just too hard.

I listen to a prayer line once daily and "agree" as each member asks for prayer. Then if the Lord brings one back to my mind later, I spend some more time lifting them up.

It's also good to pray scripture over people and needs. God's word will not return void.

Okay, great food for thought here!

Jennifer Dougan said...


How neat that the coworker from 12 years ago approached you. How exciting that he saw Jesus in you and remembered.

I resonated with your conclusion of wanting to focus more on the relationship and reverence in prayer instead of just a grocery list. Thanks.


Jennifer Dougan said...

Good job with the four miles today! You're right that it helps to have accountability partners in exercise. I like to keep track of my progress on the calendar as a means of accountability for me. Often the glaring absence of notes is a bad sign. :)

Thanks for stopping by my site.

Another She Speaks girl,
Jennifer Dougan

Jeanette Levellie said...

I argree with your asessment of prayer, Kelly, that it should be a relationship, not a laundry list. But when someone asks for prayer for their dog groomer's sister's aunt who has in ingrown toenail, I just silently pray once, or if the Lord brings it to my mind later, I will pray another time. I don't keep track or worry that I won't pray enough, since these are people I don't know.

On the other hand, if it's a family member or church member, I try to remember to bring them before the Lord as often as He puts them on my heart.

I do think we can abuse our online networks by constantly asking for prayer, until people get sick of us. As my son likes to say, "It's too easy to be a jerk online."