If we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
–1 John 5:15

Paul believed that prayer should be specific. Many times, we pray general prayers: “Lord, bless me, bless my family, bless the pastor, bless the church, bless, bless, bless.” We pray these general prayers that have no way to measure them to know if they have been answered or not. Why do we do that? Tony Evans once said, “We pray these general prayers because we want to let God off the hook.” We do not want to ask Him for specific things in case He cannot pull them off, so we ask for general things instead. Yet the Bible says we ought to pray specifically.

In 1 John 5:14-15, we read, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” John said we can ask God for anything, not just generalities. Pray for that specific concern you have, knowing that if the answer is within the will of God, then He will answer it. Adding the qualifier “if it is within Your will” is not a cop-out. Think of the will of God as a wonderful fence around your life that does not keep good things from coming into your life, but it keeps evil things out.

We need to pray specifically. Paul did that. In Romans 15, he mentioned three specific things he asked them to pray for. First, Paul asked them to pray for safety from his enemies in Jerusalem. In verse 31, he told the Roman Christians to pray “that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea.” He was saying to them, “I want to come see you, but before I get there, I need to go make good on a promise I made to deliver a financial gift to help the saints in Jerusalem.” He asked them to pray for his safety from the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who did not like him for converting to Christianity and wanted to kill him.

Second, Paul asked them to pray for peace in the Church. He continued in verse 31, “That my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints.” At that time, there was a division in the Church between the Jewish Christians and the new Gentiles who were becoming Christians. Paul was asking the Roman Christians to pray for healing within the Church. Whenever you pray for unity among Christians, you can know you are praying according to God’s will.

Third, Paul asked them to pray for his journey to Rome. In verse 32, he wrote, “So that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.” He was asking them to pray that he would be able to make it to Rome, just as he believed God wanted him to.

What is a concern in your heart is a concern in the heart of God. That is why the Bible says we ought to pray specifically.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Bow The Knee” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.