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