Be Specific In Prayer

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV).

If you have a specific need, you need to make a specific request.  We all have specific needs (health, financial, family, etc.), but many of us approach prayer with general requests.  However, Jesus taught us to be specific in our prayers.  As He taught his followers to pray, He could have told them to say, “bless us” or “help us.” However, He taught, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). He was urging His followers to be specific in prayer.  The bread was essential to life then, and Jesus is “the Bread of Life” for us today (John 6:35).

Why is it important to be specific in prayer?  Praying for specific needs helps with the following.

1)  Clarifies our minds.  A specific prayer allows us to clearly define the need.  As we clearly articulate our petition, we may begin to formulate a solution.  We realize that God’s solution may not be the same as our solution.  Once we speak our prayer, we now have one of life’s most precious commodities – hope.

2)  Identify the root problem.  As we develop specific prayers, we have the opportunity to pause and reflect on what is causing this need?  For example, perhaps we don’t need a salary increase but rather we need to be more careful with our spending.

3)  It reminds us of our dependence on God.  We are dependent on God, and all that we have is due to His blessing.  We would be wise to remember that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17).  In some churches, the congregation sings the short hymn, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” as the offering is brought forward to be received.  This doxology reminds us that as children of God, we are dependent on the blessings of the Father for provision and protection.

4) Increases our awareness of His answer.  As we offer up a specific prayer, we await an answer.  General prayers are more difficult to discern when, if, or how they have been answered.  For example, if you have a meeting with a difficult co-worker or supervisor tomorrow, then today you could pray that God would bless you with a spirit of peace so you can sleep well tonight.  Pray for wisdom so you are prepared for the meeting.  Pray that God grants you both with a spirit of gentleness.  And pray that the meeting is productive, and God is honored.

5) Strengthens our faith.  A prayer is an essential form of worship for a Christian.  If we do not have faith in God, then there is no need for prayer.  Prayer allows us to connect to God and draws us closer to Him. As we see God respond to our specific prayers, our relationship with God deepens, and our faith increases.

6) Lightens our burden.  Our prayers are a reminder of our covenant with God.  As you “Come to Him” in prayer, you “yoke up” with supernatural power and find “rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28).  Our burden is lightened because we are working in tandem with Him.

There are numerous examples in Scripture where people offer up specific prayers to God.  In Genesis 24 we learn that Abraham’s servant has been sent to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac.  The servantly wisely began the assignment with prayer. “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this, I will know that you have shown kindness to my master: (Genesis 24:12-14).  Scripture says, “Before he had finished praying, Rebekah appeared” (Genesis 24:15).  The servant offered a specific prayer and had an answered prayer.  He saw God at work.

1 Chronicles 4:10 details the prayer of Jabez.  He was a relatively obscure person that prayed a specific prayer to God.  “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”  May we also formulate specific prayers to address our needs that bring honor and glory to the Father.

Prayer:  Dear God, As we offer up specific prayers to you, may we do so boldly with confidence and thanksgiving.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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