Do you ever wonder how to pray about an issue? I often find myself pulled between two significantly different perspectives of how to pray.
I believe in kingdom prayer which focuses our requests on the bigger issues of God’s will and his kingdom. Instead of merely asking for healing or relief from the trials, I consider the big picture of God’s purposes as revealed in the scriptures. Trials are part of the Christian life and God uses them to make us like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29). So what do I pray for people dealing with the hard times? I ask God to give them perseverance and faith during temptation and testing (Luke 22:32a), to lavishly provide comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7), to provide encouragers and care from other believers, while also asking him to be merciful and bring relief from the hardships in his time and his way. I pray verses that focus on the bigger issues.
Otherwise, in my limited human perspective I end up praying for my will and my solution to the problem rather than God’s.
But then I read something that reminds me that there are times to be very specific. When we do that, we give God opportunities to do miracles before our eyes that result in his glory and his kingdom also. As James says, we have not because we ask not (James 4:2c). Such answered prayer increases our faith and encourages us to pray more fervently.
Jesus models both specific and general big-picture prayers. Instead of being pulled between two focuses, I am asking God to show me how to specifically pray for people, for ministries, and for worldwide issues of concern. He alone can guide me. But the great thing is that if I miss it even then, he promises that the Spirit will intercede for me according to his will (Rom. 8:26-27).