What Do You Want God To Do for You?April 26, 2014
This month as we specially celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the redemption that we have because of Him, I have it on my heart to talk to you about the need to be specific when you pray. Jesus paid a great price for our eternal freedom, and the Bible says about God that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Our Heavenly Father desires to give freely to His children. In fact, it honors God when we petition Him for our needs and receive answers from Him when we pray.
This Bible truth of praying for our wants and needs very specifically can be illustrated in a story about our youngest son, Joel, when he was learning to pray. When Joel prayed as a young child, he prayed the same prayer every day. If we asked him to pray over the meal at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we knew exactly what he was going to say. Regardless of the place, event, or time of the day, Joel prayed: “Heavenly Father, please bless my parents, bless my brothers, bless my grandparents, bless the whole world, and please give us a good day. I pray this in Jesus’ name!”
When Joel was only five years old, Denise and I enjoyed his amusing regularity in prayer! But as he began to get older, it was time for him to move forward in his relationship with God and in his ability to pray more effectively. I remember the day I looked into his eyes and said, “Joel, you need to be more specific when you pray. It’s all right just to ask for God’s blessing every time you pray, but if you’ll get specific with God when you pray, He will answer your specific prayers!”
There are many people, even older adults, who have known the Lord for years and are well advanced in terms of age — but when they pray, they still pray like a small child because they’ve never grown in their prayer life. Because they didn’t grow, they still pray “child-like” prayers that simply beseech God to bestow His blessings on them and those they love. Of course, it’s good to ask for God’s blessing, and it’s good to be child-like in our faith. But God wants us to grow up spiritually and to be specific with Him when we pray!
Because people have never learned to get specific with God in prayer, they have little experience seeing God move mightily to answer specific requests. In First John 5:14,15 we’re told, “…This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
This passage says we are to “ask” God and to make specific petitions to Him when we pray. The word “ask” in these verses is translated from the Greek word aiteo, which means to be adamant in requesting assistance to meet tangible needs, such as food, shelter, money, and so forth. This tells us that God knows the most basic needs of our lives — yet He wants us to speak up, speak out, and pray boldly and authoritatively for those needs to be met. This means we can come boldly in Jesus’ name to ask and expect to receive what we have requested.
So in this passage, we can see clearly that God wants us to ask for His provision in these areas of our lives. And in verse 15, the King James Version is very correct in using the word “petition” to describe the request we are to go to God with. This word “petition” is from the Greek word aitema, and it describes a specific, exact, explicit, precise, detailed request. It is a request so in-depth and comprehensive that there is no room for misunderstanding exactly what has been asked. That is why translators translated it as the word “petition” — it is the picture of a prayer so detailed and explicit that it is like an official “petition” that has been prepared and submitted.
In light of this, I want to ask you:
Have you learned the secret of getting specific with God when you pray? As you grow in your walk with God, He expects you to become bold, courageous, and very specific about the things you request of Him.
- When you pray, are you specific about what you want God to do for you?
- If someone else asked you the same thing you’ve been asking God, would you understand clearly what they were asking you to do?
- What do you want God to do for you? Can you express it in clear and unambiguous terms?
- Are you so clear on the subject that you could write it on a piece of paper and submit it to God as an official “petition”?
Let me encourage you today to open your Bible and explore its pages until you find specifically what the will of God is for your situation. If you’re going to be specific in making your requests, you need specific verses to stand on in faith! For example:
- If you’re asking God for healing, find a verse you can claim for healing.
- If you’re asking God for restoration of a relationship, find a verse you can claim for restoration of relationships.
- If you’re asking God for finances in a time of need, find a verse you can claim for finances.
- If you’re asking God for a change in a job situation, find a verse you can lay hold of and present to God as you pray.
- If you’re asking God for salvation for someone, find a verse you can claim for his or her salvation.
You get the picture. Find a verse that applies to your need or desire so you can petition the Lord based on the authority of His Word. Once you have that verse and can pray it with confidence, go right into the presence of God and boldly ask Him to work on your behalf (see Hebrews 4:16).
When you make your requests known to God, it’s important scripturally to be as specific and as detailed as you can. So why not carefully think through what you really desire? Then get a piece of paper and write it down and submit it as a “petition” to Him. I encourage you to take a few minutes today to write down the requests that you want to make to the Lord. You may discover as you do that you aren’t clear yourself about what you want. This exercise can help you gain a better understanding of exactly what you want God to do for you!
Ambiguous prayers are difficult for God to answer because they aren’t clear enough according to His Word for Him to respond to. You might wonder, “Doesn’t God already know what I need?”
Of course God knows what we need before we ever ask Him to give it to us. Yet over and over in the Gospels, Jesus commands us to “ask the Father in His name” and promises a favorable response to our prayers of faith. Asking of God, or making our requests known to Him very clearly and specifically, is crucial to our ability to receive from Him. When you are specific in your praying, you give God an opportunity to do something specific for you. Praying like that will give Him great glory, and it will give you a testimony that will change your life!
If you don’t know the verses you need to claim for your situation, we can help you! Our prayer team is fabulous and so well-trained in the Word and in praying effectively for your needs. I assure you that we have a prayer team that is very serious about intensely and fervently praying over every need that we’re made aware of. They will take your specific request before the throne of God with you — and I promise you, they know how to pray according to the will of God. And they see results!
So how can Denise and I and our prayer team pray for you?
Thank you for letting me speak to you about getting specific with God in your prayer life. I believe that as you get specific with your asking, you’ll receive specific answers from Heaven! While I’m on the subject of prayer, YOUR PRAYERS for Denise and me, our family, and our team mean so much to us as well. Thank you for being a part of one of the most faithful partner families on the planet, and thank you for your financial gifts and support. With your participation, we are touching this part of the world at a very crucial time in history. Thank you for praying for us as we forge ahead to do what God has called us to do.
I pray this letter has encouraged you! Next month, I’m going to send you a special letter that will include pictures. I’ve already put it into writing and can hardly wait for you to get it. Prepare your heart for some really good teaching on not giving up before you enter your appointed “due season”!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel Renner and their families