Is It Wise To Pray For Specifics?

Are Specific Prayers Wise?

“Be careful what you pray for. You just might get it.”

I’ve heard the saying many times.

And lived the consequences WAY more than I’d like.

It Seemed Like A Good Idea

Years ago, I went through a class to help me identify the strength of my spiritual gifts. You know, giving, mercy, administration, etc.

At the time, I was very high in administration (something I, and everyone who’s met me, already knows).

And very low in mercy. (Also something very obvious to me, and everyone who knew me then.)

Regardless of the strength of a particular gift, I believe that God expects me to do my best to practice all of them.

So I prayed and asked God to grow the traits He wanted me to have. And one of the traits I had in mind was mercy.

It seemed like a great idea. I’ve known people who abounded in the gift of mercy. So kind. Caring. Generous. And comforting and encouraging to others.

Unexpected Consequences

It never occurred to me what that really means.

As God has changed me over time, I’ve become more merciful. And I give people the benefit of the doubt more.

And I’m grateful God has changed me.

But the side I never realized, is that the harshness of the world and its people sometimes become so hurtful to me, I’m overwhelmed by the malevolence.

What I Learned

Praying for specifics taught me a few things:

— Mercy carries with it the openness to be harmed by others.

— When I don’t give mercy to others, I harm them.

— I’m thankful God forgives me when I harm others.

— I’m reminded to pray for those I’ve harmed, and for those who’ve harmed me.

— God protects me, and any event that occurs, He turns for my good and His glory.

Simple prayers are wisest for me now

I still pray for specifics at times. But most of the time, it’s wisest for me to pray simple, non-specific prayers.

I ask God to help others in the way they need, and to do what God wants me to do.

What unexpected thing happened when you prayed for something specific?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.


May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.

4 thoughts on “Is It Wise To Pray For Specifics?

  1. I think the amazing thing is that God did answer your prayer. He did provide you with more mercy when you asked. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers for various reasons.

    I tend to follow Tim’s pattern and pray specific and general prayers. I recently read in Revelation 5:8 about the prayers of the Saints being stored up and released like incense in Heaven. It was kind of scary to me as I thought about some of the prayers that I’ve prayed and have been so glad God didn’t answer them because I was being mean. I think true prayers of the Saints really ends up being “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” and so maybe that is more of what is released in Heaven.

    You always give us so much to think about, Joni, and I am grateful for that:)

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Jane. A great reminder that God looks at the heart, and He’s also the only one who can change the human heart toward Him and His intended purpose.

  2. Thanks Joni. I believe both specific and general prayers are important. God know what we need and He knows what is on our heart even if we don’t voice them to Him. But having that intimate conversation which Him and sharing specifically what’s on my mind deepens my walk.

    • I agree, Tim. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your support.

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