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Thursday, July 26, 2012


If by vague prayers, you mean careless, unfocused, unburdened prayers I doubt if they can be answered.

Last week I shared my experience with vague prayers. But we should never base theology on human experience. What does the Bible say about this matter? Well, first of all I need to say that the Bible never says God does not answer vague prayers. However, it does discourage some things that fall into the category of vague prayers. If by vague prayers we mean careless, unfocused, unburdened prayers, I doubt if they can be answered.

And the Bible does encourage specific prayers. Passages like the story of Jesus asking the blind men what they wanted Him to do for them (Mt.20:32) nudge us in that direction. But other passages like God’s pleasure with Solomon’s request for wisdom (2 Chron.1:11) indicate that it is wise to consider even struggle over what we ask for. Specific prayer often needs to be a process. God takes time to hone our vague praying to the sharpened point of His will in a matter. And His will is nearly always different and greater than I would have prayed at first.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I just finished reading one of the best books I have read in years. But I would like to challenge a statement in the book. The author gave a well-known quote from one of the spiritual giants of our day. “God does not answer vague prayers.” To be honest that is not my experience. In the past few years I have celebrated many such answers. In most of these I knew to pray for a person or situation, but just did not know what to pray. In one notable case I sensed a check in my spirit anytime I tried to pray something specific for a particular family. I began simply to take them daily to God asking Him to work in their lives. I was not sure I wasn’t praying for judgment to fall on ungodly people whom He may have raised up like Pharaoh (Rom.9:17). I was astounded when I received news that the couple had started going to church. I was not surprised to hear that the teenage nephew living with them who had been bounced from home to home all of his life was making fun of their church going. Finally I heard that the boy was dramatically saved.
Now I will grant what some of you may be thinking. I do not know if I was the only one praying for this family. And I do not know that God did not work in spite of my weak prayers. However, such questions can be asked about any answer to prayer. I suspect these factors play a part in all praying. I thank God that His work does not depend on my getting prayer right all the time. And if I am praying for someone, I believe God is probably urging someone else to pray as well. That is part of the wonder of the family of God.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I am calling this blog "Watching in Prayer." One of my life verses, Habakkuk 2:1-3, begins, "I will stand at my watch and station myself on the rampart."
To a great extent I see God's church today as watchmen on the rampart in the midst of a spiritual war. There is a great history of this picture in the Bible. One notable example is Ezekiel 33 where God spoke of putting a watchmen on the wall to warn of impending judgment. Jesus gave us another striking use of this picture in the Garden of Gethsemane. On the night He was arrested He took Peter, James and John aside in the darkened garden and asked them to watch with Him. When He returned and found them asleep He asked if they could not watch with Him for an hour. "Watch and pray," Jesus told them and us, "lest you fall into temptation."
Like that fateful hour before the cross, these are crucial days in God's working on the earth. And it is urgent that God's people pray as we have never prayed. Have all the mighty prayer warriors passed from the earth? I am devoting this blog to biblical teachings and encouragement for God's people to watch and pray.
I will encourage you to grow in intimacy with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit as we watch together with Him. And I will share prayer requests and encourage you to pray for God's work throughout the world in these exciting days.