“Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than six seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!” she yelled.
The next morning Ted got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, she quickly put on her robe, went out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house and opened it. Ted bought her a brand new bathroom scale!
He has not been seen since.
Little Johnny had been sent to his room for misbehaving. After a while he came out, approached his mom and informed her that he had thought it over and even prayed about the matter.
“Very good!” his mother said. “Always remember, if you ask God to help you not to misbehave, He will help you.”
“Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me not misbehave,” Johnny said. “I asked Him to help you put up with me.”
Do you think it matters to God whether we ask Him for specific things or that we should simply ask Him to provide what we need? While our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ever ask, according to Matthew 6:8, note how His Word speaks to us at Luke 11:11-13: “Which one of you fathers would give your hungry child a snake if the child asked for a fish? Which one of you would give your child a scorpion if the child asked for an egg? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.” — Contemporary English Version.
Here, Jesus encouraged specific prayers, just as a child can request from his father a particular kind of food. Praying specifically for God’s holy spirit to help us understand, remember or strengthen us to endure certain trials can be beneficial in helping us see exactly when and how our prayers are answered.
We might recall the example of the new king — Solomon, who was told by God to ask for whatever he wanted at 2Chronicles 1:7. In verse 10 Solomon specifically requested for wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people. In verses 11-12, God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” — New International Version.
Would you say being specific in prayer brings benefits? James 1:5 says, “So, if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him.” — New World Translation.
Another example was that of the mighty Israelite judge, Samson, who was being mocked by the Philistines after revealing the source of his strength, losing his power, being blinded and captured. While thousands of his enemies praised their god for giving them the victory over Samson at Judges 16:24-27, notice how specific Samson’s prayer was to his God at Judges 16:28: “And Samson called unto Jehovah, and said, O Lord Jehovah, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” — American Standard Version.
Samson’s prayer was immediately answered. His superhuman strength returned. So why not take a lesson from the wisest man, the strongest man and the greatest man who ever lived and work on being more specific in your prayers to God? By doing so we may get to see His matchless wisdom in exactly how He chooses to answer us in His own way and time, which will be to our everlasting benefit. Of course, our prayers must always be in harmony with God’s will or they will never be answered by Him. As 1John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” — King James Version.
Being specific also works well in human relationships. It’s like the man who asked his wife early one morning, “If you could have anything today, right now, what would it be?”
She said, “Oh, I’d love to be 10 again!”
So, he came up with a plan and took her to a theme park. They rode every ride in the park together. For lunch they went to McDonald’s, had a Big Mac with french fries and a milkshake. After lunch, he took her to see the latest movie for kids — complete with popcorn and soda.
Finally, they staggered home and collapsed into bed. Her husband leaned over and asked, “So, sweetheart, what was it like being 10 again?”
She glanced up at him with a smile and said, “Actually, I meant the dress size.”
So, be more specific. Unless you are asked to criticize. Then be vague.