There’s never been a shortage of prayer needs, but in our digital age we’re more exposed to them. It’s impossible to respond to all. This is where filtering is so helpful. But it’s not just about dealing with the volume; it includes how we handle a prayer request.
The way we handle a prayer request is important to the one prayed for, and even more so to the One prayed to. That’s because it has the potential to connect the pray-er with God’s plans for Glory (see blog post Power in Praying for Glory).
The prayer request starts the engine, but doesn’t decide the prayer route. It can give initial direction, but the journey and destination have been mapped by the Lord.
Praying through a prayer point has an element of spiritual adventure. The route might bypass our familiar prayer terrain, avoiding the repetition of well-used prayers. Instead of simply reciting the request to the Lord, we get to explore it with him.
Being able to call on others to pray is a Body-life blessing. However, prayer points are not always clear and we can’t always assume they are accurate. At times, the person facing a crisis or need is too emotionally invested to see clearly what the ‘on target’ asking point should be. Often, prayer points are so general they give little or no focus. Then too, there are the lists, sometimes so populated that they lose the pray-er in the forest of prayer points.
Yet, prayer requests carry a huge blending potential. They are connected to life’s issues now and to eternity. They are catalysts for blending prayer with God’s plans in the world… .and the consequences are eternal. Because the big issue is the Glory of the Lord, the Spirit is not only interested, but involved with us in filtering prayer requests. Filtering is about more than choosing which requests to pray for; it’s about how to handle the prayer point.
We aren’t expected to respond to all prayer requests that come our way. And some are better handled in the corporate upper room than the personal inner room. What is important – in inner and upper room – is that we don’t settle for simply reciting the request (asking exactly what is given), but allow the Spirit of Christ to do what he does so well: lead us in the journey of exploring the request with him (and the life or situation it represents). Promoting Glory is his top, forever passion, so the journey will definitely not be boring!
The Spirit knows everything about the prayer point (infinitely more than the one requesting prayer), and knows perfectly what should be prayed in order to blend our asking with God’s plans. The prayer request becomes the starting point. From there, the Spirit can build our agreement by nudging us into passageways or onto a springboard. Passageways take us deeper, beyond the surface of the request. His springboards, however, can launch us to a focus more relevant or urgent than the initial prayer point.
Some prayer points are evergreen; always important, always relevant. Often a prayer point can be used as is, unfiltered. And it’s not wrong to simply ‘mention’ the point to the Lord. But if that’s the norm for handling all prayer requests – reciting without exploring, mentioning but not unpacking – we could be missing out on the journey adventure the Spirit has for us in a prayer point, and on a level of prayer blending vital to his plans.
Call to mind one prayer request that has come recently. If too long, rewrite it as a concise, one-sentence asking point. Read it audibly, ponder it, then ask the Lord to share his thoughts on it with you. Begin filtering the request.
- Is it one of those evergreen asking points? Are you to invest in this request (your heart and time)? The answer to that often comes as we start praying, not for the request, but for the person/people making it.
- Is the asking point one that, when answered, will draw attention to Christ’s Glory?
- Begin praying from the outcome (his Glory), moving towards the request. That helps build a frame of admiration before asking.
- As you talk to the Father about the request, be alert to the Spirit’s passageways or springboards. The journey might be short or long, but blending the asking with plans for Glory is too important to rush.