Faith - January 18, 2019

Why We Should Pray Specifically, with Expectation

I think we can agree or have at one point felt like praying is hard. It’s one thing to pray when you’re desperate or don’t have any other place to turn, but it’s another thing to pray because you can’t imagine a day without it. I don’t know about you, but I want the latter. And so it’s been my focus to really invest in my prayer life this year and commit to showing up, even when I feel alone or unsure of what to do. There’s something about consistently showing up to spend time with God that I *know* will make a difference.

Earlier this month I shared three methods to improve your prayer life. And today I want to talk about something that might be holding you back.

Have you ever considered that one of the reasons you don’t experience the prayer life you want or think you should have is because you aren’t praying specifically enough?

I’m so excited about this topic and to get a conversation going with y’all about the importance of specific, expectant prayers. So before we dive in, I want to give you an overview of how I’m covering the topic. In this blog post, I want to do two things.

First, I want to walk you through a story found in Mark 10:46 about a blind man named Bartimaeus. Trust me, it’s important and you don’t want to skip this part of the post. I’ll use his story to illustrate what I mean by praying specifically. When I first heard this story and learned about the importance of praying specifically, it quite literally changed my life!

Secondly, I want to share three reasons WHY you should challenge yourself to pray specifically.

Let Me Tell You About Bartimaeus

Totally fine if you have no idea who he is. You will in a second.

Okay, so, Bartimaeus was a blind beggar that we learn about in Mark 10. We’re told that he was sitting on the side of the road and cried out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). Jesus heard him. And since Jesus is God and knows ALL things, he already knew what the man wanted and was probably ready to give it to him. But we’re told that Jesus goes over to the beggar and says, “What do you want Me to do for you?” In other words, Jesus is asking Bartimaeus to be more specific with his request.

Quick side note. I love it when Jesus or God ask questions in the Bible. Because they already know the answer, SO when they do ask a question, my ears perk up because I know there’s something to learn by the sheer fact that the question is asked. And in this case, we learn that we must be specific with our prayers.

Going back to the story, as soon as Bartimaeus states specifically that he wants to see, Jesus honored his faith and healed him. Jesus gave him exactly what he asked for – what he had the faith for Jesus to give him.

Studying this story was a game changer for me. All of a sudden, it clicked and I was like, OH I can definitely work on this.

I remember, that at the time when this all clicked for me, I was heartbroken after a really yucky breakup. And I think all my prayers were like, can you please just make the pain go away? Or something else super general like that. But hearing this story helped me to think through how I could specifically ask God for little and big things to help me through the healing process. And since then, this lesson has continued to shape my prayer life, challenging me to be as specific as possible with my prayers.

With all that being said, I wanted to break out three distinct reasons why we should be specific with our prayers.

Why should we make specific requests?

Specific prayers help to cultivate relationship

God wants to be in deep relationship with me, but it is always an invitation and never a demand.

He will never force me to tell him anything, but he longs to hear the things I desire. I think many times I fear asking for something specifically because I’m afraid it won’t happen, but I’m not fooling God. He knows the specifics already, but part of being in relationship is being honest and communicating what I want to him. When I abide, or remain, in a relationship with him I can ask for things in faith and ask specifically using what I know of his desires for my life. I can trust He knows what is best for me because He really is a good Father!

Specific prayer helps us better understand our desires

The more specifically I communicate about something I desire, the more I get to the bottom of what I really want. Such definite prayer challenges me to know my own needs and desires better. It takes more time, thought, and processing to figure out what’s really going on and identify what my needs actually are.

For instance, you might start out praying for a husband, but after talking it out with God a little more you might realize that underneath that prayer is a desire to be seen and loved. There’s nothing wrong with praying for a husband. This is a good desire and something absolutely worth praying for! But sometimes, our desire for a particular circumstance is actually masking a deeper longing of the heart that the Lord can meet us in.

Also, praying specifically helps me sift through the righteous and unrighteous desires of my heart. This self-examination puts my desires to the test as to whether they’re honest and real or even something I actually want rather than just think I want.

With a specific request, we can better see the answer

When I pray specifically, I can see more clearly when and/or if He answers my prayer.

I ask him to do things boldly and specifically and wait in expectation. When I know he has clearly answered my prayers, my faith is strengthened, giving me the confidence to ask him to do even more. My relationship with him also deepens because I feel seen and heard when he responds in such detail oriented ways.

Rather than making some vague, general request for mercy or blessing, try expressing a distinct and definite need that you want your Father to fulfill. And then have faith that He will answer your prayer – with either a yes or a no or a not yet. I sometimes even set deadlines because then if the things doesn’t happen by the deadline, I can count that as an answer (no or not yet) and know that He has a reason. And something about that makes me feel better.


That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’m so excited to read what y’all think about this.

Have you read this story in Mark 10? Have you ever thought about praying specifically? Does this post make you want to try it out? I hope so! I’d love to hear from y’all and what your thoughts are!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”