Pray for Me, Please
As a pastor, I have ample opportunity to sit with people in smaller groups and ask for prayer requests. The response is generally silence, followed by a couple brave souls asking for prayers for someone they know. Very rarely are we comfortable with sharing even what seem to be trivial requests with others. Part of this is a lack of trust—we don’t commit ourselves to the relationships with people on a consistent basis. Instead, we come to groups for the topic being studied, as if the topic were the primary way we could grow in Christ. Once the study changes, we give ourselves the option of stopping attending. And then we miss out on giving others the chance to feel comfortable asking for prayer.
Asking for prayer opens us up. We have to honestly bear our private, personal lives to someone else. We know that prayer makes a difference. And yet we rarely ask others to pray for the stuff that matters most. James said you do not have because you do not ask God (James 4:2). The same principle applies to those around us. While our heavenly Father knows our needs before we ask, mind reading is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Personally, this is most difficult for me because I feel selfish. And that is a form of pride masking itself in humility. Feeling like I would be a burden on someone else is a way to focus my attention inwardly. If everyone did this, we’d never gather for worship or prayer. So I know I have to overcome this feeling.
Who might we ask? Depending on our relationships, we might find we are comfortable asking only a smaller group of people to pray. And depending on our life circumstances, we might feel the need for concentrated prayer arises only periodically.
We could ask…
- …our small group.
- …our spouse.
- …our extended family.
- …our pastors.
- …our best friends.
But in order for this practice to be more regular than when we feel like the need is so great, we need to update those who pray for us regularly. I am a part of a couple of Facebook groups set up specifically by a friend, updated with prayer requests as they are involved in ministry. That’s one way.
Dave Earley, a pastor who wrote Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders, explained how he developed a team of people to pray for him.
- He prayed about who to ask. We want people who will pray, who won’t use our requests as an excuse to gossip, and who won’t just say they’ll pray—people who will really pray. Earley asked 12 people to be this group for him.
- He sent out a letter detailing why he was asking for prayer and asked them to come to a meeting.
- At the meeting, he showed them verses like Exodus 17; Acts 12; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1; Rom. 15:30; Eph. 6:19; and Col. 4:3. He also took their prayer requests, and together they made a one-year commitment to spend time in prayer daily, pray for one another as part of their prayer times at least once a week, and pray specifically for him each Saturday night (since he is a pastor).
- They met together every 2 weeks for Bible study and prayer.
- He called them his mighty men after David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23.
We can adapt this. Maybe meeting every two weeks is impossible. But we have to start somewhere. I’m going to. What about you?