We have not only heard it said, but have also said it many times, “Please pray for me.” The good thing is many people have faith in God and believe in the awesome power of prayer. James, in his fifth chapter of the Bible book bearing his name, used the Old Testament prophet Elijah as an illustration of the might of prayer. He said the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much and then told how Elijah, a person much like ourselves, prayed that it would not rain, and it did not. Afterwards, when Elijah prayed for it to rain, it did (vs.16-18). Elijah’s prayer was not answered because of “who” he was, but because of “how” he was. Elijah was a righteous man which is how all of God’s people should be.
“Please pray for me,” is asked to get others to petition God on their behalf. It is probably the number one thing asked of Christian people. No doubt because most people understand that a prayer is more likely to have success coming from a person with a godly life than a Godless life. They see and believe that God is committed to people who are committed to him. James did say the prayer of the “righteous” avails much (v.16). Peter concurred. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12). One must be righteous (living right) to gain results. But what about the quality of the prayer requests?
Many prayer requests are honorable in nature. They range from health concerns to trying to provide for families. These requests are usually seeking spiritual assistance in obtaining God’s favor. They seek out good Christian people to pray along with them (Acts 12:5,12).
Many prayer requests are with covetous motives. They are lustful and materialistic and only want “things;” [house, car, money] (Lk. 12:15; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). It never crosses their mind that if they requested to be a better Christian and worked at it, God may bless them with those things.
Many prayer requests are without understanding. These are from folks who refuse to obey God but want Christians to ask God to bless them while they live in sin. They fail to see they will never be blessed until they are spiritually able to pray for themselves (Is.59:1-2; Ps. 66:18).
All prayer requests acknowledge God. Asking others to pray to God for you is an admission that you believe in God and that he can help you. This is true, but also conditional. God will do his part when we do ours. We must become and live as faithful Christians (Jn.9:31; Rev.2:10).
Richard Stevens III