What Else?

by Donna Savange

As a young Christian, I marveled at how other believers I prayed with addressed multiple facets of a single request. When they prayed for a sick friend, for instance, they asked God to comfort the person's family and open doors for ministry. I usually stopped at a bare-bones petition for healing because I didn't know what else to pray about. I hadn't learned how to identify related needs God might want me to bring to Him.

Now I encourage women I pray with (either individually or in a group) to extend their intercession by helping them convert information into petitions. I don't want to pad prayers with empty words (Mt. 6:7-8) or cross over from concern to gossip, but I've realized God can use details to direct us toward deeper needs an opportunities we can pray for.

When someone voices a request, I'll gently invite her to share more by asking one or two of the following questions. Those I pray with may do the same thing with me.

  • "Are there any practical needs that we can pray about?" For instance, I asked a woman who shared about stress at work if she had upcoming deadlines or projects she'd like prayer for. If someone is asking prayer for a friend, I might inquire--as appropriate--about physical, financial, or time issues the friend faces.
  • "What spritual needs do you have related to this? (Or for requests about someone else, ask, "If you faced these circumstances, what spiritual needs would you have?)
  • "Who else does this situation impact? How might it affect them?"
  • "Are any unbelievers affected by these circumstances? How might they need our prayers?"
  • "What Bible verses could we use as we pray for this request?"

-from Discipleship Journal, March/April 2009, Issue 170, pg. 70