Often, people ask the question, what should I pray for?
I think, in the minds of many Christians, there are things that it is correct to ask for, and there are things that are incorrect to ask for. The problem for us as human beings is we cannot always be sure which is which.
A good example is when we are faced with the situation of someone we love being very ill or injured. Do we pray for healing? Do we pray for comfort? Do we pray for release from their suffering?
The reality is, if three people gather around the bed to pray, they may all be praying for very different things. So which prayer is the right prayer?
In the Gospel of Luke 11:9-13, Jesus, after telling the parable of the bold friend, states; “So I say to you: 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.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NIV)
The answer I believe this passage gives us is this: Pray what is in your heart. If you believe that healing is what is necessary, pray for healing. If you want to pray for release, pray for release. Take to the Lord all your petitions and requests.
Undoubtedly, some of those prayers will be silly and self-serving. Some will be deep and filled with concern for others. The reality is that God in His wisdom, can separate out the wheat from the chaff, and do what is best for you and the situation.
Notice what Jesus says, even an evil father will give his children good things. So how much more will our heavenly Father give us what we need.
And the flip side is, what father would give his child a snake or a scorpion just because he asks? Good fathers give what will build up, and withhold that which might damage. So, too, will our heavenly Father. He knows what is best and will answer in the way that is best for us and the situation.
So, when you pray, pray boldly. Ask God for what is in your heart and have confidence that He will answer with what is best because of His deep and abiding love for you.