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Knots.

The Person Behind the Prayer Request

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One of the things I love about the small group setting is that we can join each other in praying for just about anything. It is not helpful for everybody in a worship service on Sunday morning to request prayer for their ailing elbow, their aging pet, and their general sleeplessness due to young children. But our Heavenly Father loves to hear the things that are really weighing on our hearts and minds, and the small group setting often allows for that level of engagement in each other’s lives. If the list above sounds like prayer request time in your small group, don’t despair … God values those prayers!

On the other hand, there’s another aspect of prayer in small groups that is equally valuable and more easily missed. The relationships we develop with each other should be the foundation from which we can delve into the person behind the prayer request. What do I mean by that? Beneath every life circumstance or difficulty is the heart of the person sharing the request. While God cares about every request, He and we should care about every person behind every request.

The person behind the request to pray for their ailing elbow may be struggling with feelings of inadequacy or inferiority because they can’t accomplish what they used to. The person behind the request to pray for their aging pet may be battling deep loneliness and depression. The person behind the request to pray for sleeplessness may be dealing with marital strain or anger toward children.

The point is that as God has called us into relationship with each other, we need to pray for the request and the person behind the request. That will likely require us asking questions like “That seems really tough … How is it affecting you personally?” or “Wow, if I were dealing with that, I would feel really discouraged … How are you handling that?” or “When I’m tired, everyone around me suffers … How are you and your spouse doing with all this?”

A couple sympathetic responses and thoughtful questions can care well for each other as well as enrich your prayer time so that you can pray for the prayer request AND the person behind it. For more on this suggestion and other helpful ways to improve small group prayer time, check out this article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-suggestions-to-deepen-your-small-group-prayer

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Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

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Recommended Listening

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Recommended Links

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