When is it wrong to pray for specific requests?

When faced with life situations, is it ever wrong to pray for specific answers?

What could possibly be wrong with that? Isn’t that what the bible teaches? 

It is biblical to believe and trust God to specifically work, even in the impossible. This is one of my life passions. We should ask him to move mountains. And yes, we should pray for our specific needs and desires. But how we lift these requests to God makes all the difference.

As some lift their prayers to God I hear them try to micro-manage the Lord. It’s as though they think they know better than God does. They love to tell God exactly what he needs to do and when he needs to do it. 

I’ve had many ask me to pray for a personal need and then go on to tell me exactly what and how to pray. They describe in specific details how God needs to answer their prayer-need and how I should pray for it. 

There are two ways of praying for specifics. One way is to pray for our needs and desires as we see best, according to our understanding.

The other way is to also pray specifically but with a sense of surrender, fully trusting God to provide for our desires and needs in his way and in his time.

The key here is faith. Our faith should not be in how we pray but in God and his complete faithfulness. It must rest on the fact that God is God and loves us enough to work in whatever ways are best.

There’s a huge difference between the two. And the direction we choose to pray makes all the difference in the depth of our prayer lives.

Consider the words of Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

These verses need to play a huge part in our prayer life. We should believe and expect God to work in our lives but at the same time, our foundational attitude must be a complete surrender and confidence that God will work his perfect will in whatever situation we’re facing.

Pouring out your heart to God should be a major part of prayer. 

As I pray, I describe all my thoughts, feelings, and concerns to him. 

I tell him exactly how I’m feeling and what I need. And yes, I ask God to meet those specific needs. But my attitude during and after my prayer time must be “Have your way in this oh God. I trust you and know that you are working for my good as well as the good of others.” 

It’s as though we’re coming to God with open hands and saying, “This is what I need. This is my desire. I know you’re capable of working and providing for every single need. I bring these concerns before you. Do as you see best.”

Consider the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He poured out his heart to his father God. He described his needs and desires. He asked God for specific requests. But he ended the prayer with “Not my will, but yours be done.”

This final prayer surrendering to God’s will was not a cop-out to faith; it was faith. Our faith must go deeper than believing God can answer our prayers to knowing he is in control and will answer in the best way possible. 

Our faith must not rest in our prayers but in our all-powerful, all-loving God.

So, yes, pray specifically. Step out and ask God for the impossible.

But trust him and know that he is at work and will answer in his time and in his perfect and loving way.

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