Thursday, April 11, 2013

Brief Thoughts on Unspoken Prayer Requests

I'd never heard of an "unspoken request" before I joined a Baptist Church. I was three different varieties of Presbyterian, and one kind of Methodist, before I stepped into the maelstrom that is the SBC. That was, by the way, nearly a third of a century ago.

To this day, I do not "get" unspoken requests. I've never offered one, and I cannot honestly say I've prayed for any, in any way that was meaningful to me.

I have this strange picture in my mind of someone asking me to pray for two unspoken requests. I say "I only have time to pray for one .. which one do you want me to pray for?" Hmmm.....

What's more, I don't think it's Biblical to ask for, or to pray for, such requests.

(***GASP***)

Yes, that's what I meant. Consider the following simple thought:

1 Corinthians 14 has much to say about those who speak in an unknown tongue. In one verse, referring to someone praying or praising in an unknown tongue, Paul writes:

"Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since they do now know what you are saying?

Apply that to prayer requests: if I don't know what you're asking me to pray for, how can I "Amen" that, by interceding for whatever your request is?

To my knowledge, God has stated that one particular kind of prayer will "avail much". That's fervent, effectual prayer.

On a wholly human level, I cannot understand how someone would ask another to pray for them ... for something specific ... which really is a Spiritually intimate thing ... yet withhold knowledge as to what it is they're being asked to pray for.

I just don't get it.


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2 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, April 12, 2013, Blogger Rob said...

What about a struggle that's too personal to share in a public setting?

 
At 9:26 AM, April 12, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Then you ask people in private. But if Paul said we can't "amen" what we don't understand, I won't pray for someone's request if I don't know what it is.

I think your idea may hint at one of the big problems in the church, today. The real fear of sharing a really "personal" request is that people will misuse that information. Gossip and the like. And that ought not to be in the Body of Christ.

 

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