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What If This Post Was Unwritten?

Do you think that, if no one prays for you, God will abandon you?

I ask because of the large number of “unspoken” prayer requests I’ve heard over the years. I don’t really think that those requests usually indicate an affirmative answer to my question. I just think that those who make those requests haven’t thought through the implications of the unspoken request, and I’m writing to ask them to think about it and, having thought about it, to stop making unspoken prayer requests.

imageIf you want me to pray for you, tell me what you need. I don’t need the details. I understand that the details may be embarrassing and that public disclosure of everything might be inappropriate. (Tangential note to over-sharers: if you’re having surgery, I don’t need to know on what. This especially applies to anything reproductive or digestive. Unless you are a close friend, I don’t want to know. Tangent to the tangent, to recipients of prayer requests: don’t ask for details not offered unless you’re sure the petitioner will want to tell you. Your curiosity might be the reason some people don’t ask for prayer.) I will pray for a general need, just give me something general for which to pray. But surely there is someone whom you can trust with your personal requests. If not, you should consider 1) your own responsibility to build such relationships, and 2) whether or not your church is what it ought to be in terms of fellowship.

Getting back to my opening question, I acknowledge that you might find yourself in the tragic situation in which you have no one to bear your burdens. If that is the case, why bother telling those whom you do not trust with your heart? Because what I hear in your unspoken request is, “I don’t trust you, but I want you to pray for me.” Or is it because you think your own prayers are inadequate? If so, you need to trust God to be true to his word. James tells us to “pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (5:16). Will not the prayer of a righteous man [or woman, or child] for himself accomplish much, as well? And let us not forget the opening exhortation in that verse: “confess your sins to one another.” Could it be that your unspoken request comes from an unwillingness to confess your sin? Our Lord assures us that “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13–14), and “if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. . . . ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (16:23–4). Peter exhorts us to cast “all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

He cares for you. If you have no one to trust, you have him. He does not ignore the lone petition. He will not abandon you. He will answer the prayer of one just as he would answer the prayers of many, because he cares for you.

Posted 2011·08·15 by David Kjos
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#1 || 11·08·15··20:28 || Betsy Markman

Sometimes a request has to be unspoken because it involves other people, and you might not feel you can divulge information about someone other than yourself. Sometimes the person may already have shared the details with a close prayer-warrior friend, but feels so heavily burdened that she wants to ask for even more prayer from those who aren't as close to her.
Sometimes hurting hearts don't think logically and analytically. Sometimes they just cry out. I, for one, don't mind taking them before the throne when they do so in an "unspoken" way.

#2 || 11·08·16··06:42 || WhiteStone

It is a tortuous thing to me to have members request prayer for (name the disease/family situation, and list all symptoms and scenarios, including the sins of the person being prayed for that brought them to the unfortunate situation).

I far prefer the method used in some "traditional" churches, where members' names are listed and the prayer request is labeled "illness" or "surgery" or other single word explanation.

I do not need a detailed explanation of what this doctor said and then that doctor said, etc! I really don't want to know the details.

And THEN...the person leading the prayer re-mentions every last detail during the prayer if God did not hear the explanation mentioned by the member! And if we don't reiterate the request in its entirety, surely God will not know what to do!

#3 || 11·08·16··08:19 || David Kjos

   As another reader asked me, if the request is not specified, how can I know if the desire is biblical? I can't, and so I don't pray for them. I really do have to know what I'm praying for.
   Besides that, as I wrote in my post, It's entirely unnecessary.

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