Have you ever wondered if you should bother God with your needs since there are so many others worse off than you are? Here’s how I learned to pray for my needs.
How to do this Prayer Practice:
Sometimes we hesitate because our small daily challenges like getting to work on time seem trivial compared to people who are in life and death situations. Other times we forget to ask because we get so wrapped up providing everything for ourselves that we develop a false sense of self sufficiency.
2. It’s natural and healthy for us to turn to God in our times of need.
Yet God created us so that we would naturally turn to Him in prayer when we need help. There’s truth to the saying that there are no atheists in foxholes because nearly everyone of every background feels the impulse to pray when faced with serious problems beyond their control. Learning to regularly pray about our needs both big and small is a divine pathway into prayer that helps us form a daily reliance on God’s providence and a deeper trust in Christ.
3. Jesus tells us to pray for our needs.
In the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father, Jesus gives a very simple and direct model for asking for needs. “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11) During His years as an itinerant teacher Jesus was totally dependent on God stirring up generosity in the hearts of others to supply His basic needs of food and shelter. When He was crucified Christ’s only possessions were the clothes He had been wearing when He stood trial. (Luke 9:58, John 19:23,24)
Likewise when Jesus sent His followers out on missions, He explicitly sent them with no provisions except their trust in the promise that God would provide for them and that people would welcome them in and feed them. (Luke 10:4) God indeed provided. (Luke 22:35)
4. Praying for our needs brings supernatural peace.
The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philipians 4:6,7)
5. Prayer is part of the divine spiritual cycle of provision which produces generosity, joy, thanksgiving and closer interconnections with fellow Christians.
Paul writes: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflow in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
6. Great spiritual growth can happen as we pray about our needs.
On the surface, praying for needs is so simple that even children can do it well. However as we mature and our lives, emotions and thinking processes become more complex the act of asking becomes a challenge. When we begin to ask more frequently a wonderful variety of dynamic spiritual forces come into play that can lead to breakthroughs in our relationship with God. Here are some of the ways asking opens up to God:
We recognize that we aren’t self sufficient and there’s more to life than accumulating things. (Luke 6:38)
We admit that although it seems that we are providing for ourselves through personal effort and hard work, even our effort and work are made possible through God’s design of creation which includes His gifts to us of physical strength, health, opportunities, natural resources and talents. (Luke 12:24)
We learn gratitude, thanksgiving and humility. (Luke 1:46-53)
We learn to depend on God and not on ourselves. (Matt. 6: 31-33)
We give God an opportunity to do things for us. (John 13:8)
We begin to understand stewardship which means that we see the whole world as God’s and not as ours to be used for our own selfish purposes. (Luke 19:23)
We develop generosity. (Luke 6:38)
We are nourished by the joy of giving and sharing. (Luke 21:3,4)
We are able to see God’s hand at work and can tell others specific very ways God has answered our prayers. (John 6:14)
We develop patience, self discipline and obedience. (John 21:5,6)
We appreciate the greater and more lasting value of spiritual gifts. (John 6:26,27)
7. Pray Scriptures.
The Bible is the ultimate resource when it comes to helping us pray for our needs with confidence and hope. When praying Scripture we are interacting with the Living Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to open our thoughts to God’s view of our needs and how He desires to fill them.
There are countless verses and personal accounts in the Bible that assure us that God will meet our needs. There are also scriptures which we might pray and meditate on covering our specific individual needs whether we are in need of healing, protection or guidance or need help in overcoming fear.
My Personal Experiences and Tips:
A number of years ago I set a personal goal of having a book published and I prayed for years for this to happen. I wrote 5 unpublished novels that kept getting rejected. Then one day I realized that when praying for the things we want, we need to be open to God’s guidance as to whether what we’re praying for is the right thing. I eventually had my first book published and it wasn’t a novel, it was a nonfiction inspirational book on depending on God to thrive and grow during life’s waiting periods. I discovered that when praying for needs, we shouldn’t overlook the long list of virtues in step 6 above and we shouldn’t have a rigid idea of exactly what God should give us to meet our needs.
Biblical Origins and Traditional Roots of This Prayer Method:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7,8)
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he will hear us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (John 5:14,15)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. “ (Ephesians 3:20,21)
Copyright Karen Barber 2011