When do you ask for prayer?
If you’re anything like me, you wait until you’re really, really desperate for it. After all, there are so many people with great needs – people with cancer, people going through divorce, people who’ve lost loved ones, people who’ve lost jobs. We’re almost afraid to ask for prayer unless we believe our problem truly makes some sort of qualification list.
I teach youth girls on Sunday nights, and there have been times I’ve chuckled at their prayer requests. Sometimes I challenge them about what they’re asking prayer for because I think they’re spouting something off just to say they’ve shared a request. Typically, though, I try not to consider anything too trivial. I think the rest of us just might be able to learn something from those girls whose worlds are still pretty small.
The book of Hebrews closes out in the same way many New Testament letters do. There are last-minute instructions and a greeting. One of those last-minute instructions stands out to me.
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner. Hebrews 13:18-19
This is not a request for prayer because of imprisonment, although that was not unusual at the time. It is not a request for prayer for health or for travel mercies or any other urgent need. I see a two-fold request here.
We feel that we’re doing well, obeying the commands God has set before us. We know what it takes to stay the course, though. Pray that we will.
I miss you! I’d love to see you! Pray for that to happen.
This was not a request for prayer in struggle. This was a request for prayer to stick with obedience in daily life. How often do we wait until we’re in the depths of a struggle and feeling nigh unto hopeless before we seek the prayer support of others? What if we were to ask for prayer in our strengths as well?
Even the most basic functions of the Christian life are, in reality, too great for us to handle. That is why we so desperately require the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at all times. Inherent in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is prayer. Prayer for ourselves. Prayer for one another. Prayer in all things, not just in the struggles.
Will you pray for me that I will stay the course today? Will you pray for me that I will be usable in all things? In turn, I will pray for you. May you stay the course today!