The Right Way to Ask for Prayer

Humility Leads to Prayer

The simple acknowledgment of our neediness and weakness opens a door to the grace of God where we find confidence, peace, security, wisdom, strength, and freedom in him.

One way to put humility to work is this: ask someone to pray for you. God has established his kingdom on earth in such a way that we must ask for help. We ask the Lord for help, and we ask other people. Until we see him face-to-face, God works through his Spirit and his people.

It only sounds simple. It is one thing to ask the Lord for help. Even if our faith is especially weak, we have heard that he invites and hears our cries for help (Ps. 62:8), and we are willing to risk a little openness before him. It is something much different to ask a friend. Our pride resists being vulnerable. Even more, if you have ever confided in someone and received comments that were hurtful or less than supportive, you might have decided on the spot never to let that happen again, which means that you keep your troubles to yourself. This self-protective strategy might seem effective in the short run. It is not, however, how God created us to be with each other, so it will eventually lead to misery rather than safety. We opt instead for a better way. The process of asking for prayer is outlined below.

Caring for One Another

Edward T. Welch

Edward T. Welch guides small groups through 8 lessons aimed at helping ordinary Christians create a community where people bear one another’s burdens and care for each other in times of trouble.

1. Identify trouble in your life.

Trouble is always knocking at the door. The list of troubles usually includes money, work, relationships, health, and matters specifically connected to our knowledge of Jesus and how to live for and with him.

God has established his kingdom on earth in such a way that we must ask for help.

2. Connect a particular trouble with Scripture.

When you connect your troubles with Scripture, you are joining your life to the promises, graces, and commands of God. It takes time to develop this skill because there is so much Scripture, but you probably have the gist of what God says:

“Sometimes I find it hard to even pray for difficult things in my life. Would you pray that I know—deeply, in my heart—that God cares and invites me to pour out my heart to him?” (Ps. 62:8)

“I have been sick for a while and can get so discouraged. Could you pray that I would be able to turn quickly to Jesus when I feel especially miserable?” (2 Cor. 4:16–18)

“I have been snippy with my spouse over the last few weeks. Could you pray that I live with humility and gentleness as we try to talk about difficult things together?” (Eph. 4:1)

“I have been so frustrated with my daughter to the point where I want respect more than I want to be patient and show kindness to her. Could you pray for me?” (1 Cor. 13:4)

“My department manager has been critical and gruff recently. I don’t know how to even think about this. Do you have any ideas on how I could pray?” (Rom. 12:18)

If you don’t know how to pray, ask others to help you make the connections between your needs and God’s Word.

It is God’s will that we say “help” both to him and to others. As we do, we will take an important step toward being able to help others, since needy, humble helpers are the best helpers. And along the way, we will bless our community and induce others toward being needy, open, and vulnerable.

This article is adapted from Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships by Edward T. Welch.

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