Part of being a campus minister is getting the opportunity to pray with a lot of people each week, which means I see a lot of different styles of prayer. It’s good for me to pray with so many different believers because it encourages me to grow in my prayer life. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is the power of praying specifically.

More Opportunity to Honor God

Often I’ll hear a person pray something like, “God, be mighty to save.” or “God, bring a move of your power to our campus.” These prayers are earnest and honor God by trusting Him for big things, but it’s hard to know when they’ve been answered. Asking for specific things gives us the opportunity to honor God when He answers our prayers.

For example, “God, we want people to know you. Enable us to lead five people in our major to Christ this year.” When that happens, we get to praise God for answering our prayers. If it doesn’t happen, we get to look for how He did work.

Encourages Us to Obey

Praying specifically also motivates us to act in faith. Praying “God, be mighty to save” makes it easy to walk out of the prayer meeting and not share the Gospel with a friend. But if I’ve prayed that God would lead five people to Christ this year, then I have a sense of urgency to tell my friends about Jesus.

God lets us share in the joy of the work He’s doing, and praying specifically keeps us accountable to being a part of that work.

God Answers Prayer

The most important reason to pray specifically is simply that God answers prayer. In Mark 10:46-52, a blind man yells repeatedly to get Jesus’s attention. When he succeeds, Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The answer is a little obvious. The guy wants to see! But the blind man simply says, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight,” and Jesus heals him.

Jesus could have healed him without the man asking, but waited for specific request. Since we want to see God work on our campuses, let’s ask God for specific things, listen for how he calls us to obey, and praise Him for answering our prayers.

heatherHeather is a campus minister with Campus Renewal at Cornell University and Ithaca College. She longs to see the church praying and working together to make Christ know. She’s originally from Texas, and it took a man named Andrew to transplant her to the Northeast. She’s glad to leave three digit temperatures behind, but has yet to find a decent tortilla in New York. When she’s not watching Sci-Fi with her husband, she’s usually playing with her dog or reading.