Being intentional in our prayer


I had debated writing about this subject for quite some time, which was somewhat surprising to even me. It was difficult to start writing about the subject of intentionality, especially when it came to praying, or asking God. When I was younger in my faith, I learned that if you prayed for a particular petition, you had to be specific and also believe that you would receive what you prayed for. I did this for many years, but the times when I had the most difficulty in asking for specifics was when I really did NOT want to hear a negative answer from God. In all other areas (such as praying for others’ needs, praying in thanksgiving, or praying over someone when asked), I was very deliberate and specific in my prayer. However, when it came to asking God for something I wanted, I somehow felt I should not ask directly or with specifics. It was almost as if I didn’t want to be rude to God by asking directly. It somehow felt like I was demanding.

An example of this is my two sons. I love my boys… even with their A.S.D.’s. Over the past seven years, I prayed for God to “take care” of them and their needs, all the while believing that God would understand what I meant in my heart. While this is true – He does indeed understand what I mean in my heart and mind, I was never specific to the point of praying with great intent on a favorable outcome. Instead of asking what I really wanted for my sons, I would keep asking God to take care of them and their needs. It wasn’t until I realized that praying for those specific needs my sons have, and being intentional in what I ask God in petition was not so much for my sons, but for me.

By praying with great intention and being specific in those petitions, we are lifting up those areas of our lives or those people in our lives that we have tried to carry on our own. When we pray with intention, we tell God that we are placing specific burdens and placing our trust in Him to take care of the thing or things that we can’t handle ourselves. It forces us to identify what we need to let go of or leave in God’s hands. We essential let go, and let God.

In The Last Prophet, Guarding Sophia, our main character learned that when she prayed she had to pray with intentionality and to not be afraid of asking God for a specific intention. Identifying a specific need means that you have searched your heart and spirit for what it is you really need and not just some lofty goal or wish. Our main character may have learned this lesson after she lost the ones she loved, but the lesson learned of praying with intent for a specific need directs and changes our own heart to accept what comes.

This is a great, but also difficult lesson to learn, mainly because there are times when those prayers may not be answered the way we want them to be. Some may have heard it said that God answers in three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. So how do we get through those times when our prayer seems unanswered or not to our liking? In my favorite devotional site, there are three tips offered for how one can get through these “unanswered” prayers (see for full devotional).

  1. Be confident that God hears our prayers.
  2. Trust that prayer makes a difference, even if you can’t see it
  3. Fear has NO place in this conversation with God, so tell fear to take a hike

What do you need to be intentional about? How will you make prayer specific? Comment in the space provided.

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