I read a book several years ago that transformed the way I prayed. ItΓÇÖs called Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, and now I read it every year. In it, Batterson emphasizes the point that in order to see God work in a specific way in our lives, we must pray specifically; conversely, general prayers get general answers.
I know that there have been times that IΓÇÖve prayed very generic, vague prayersΓÇöprayers like, ΓÇ£Lord, touch my life and lead me in your ways.ΓÇ¥ Not a bad prayer, right? And thatΓÇÖs a good place to start perhaps, but admittedly it isnΓÇÖt a very specific prayer.
A much more powerful approach to this prayer would be, ΓÇ£Lord, you see whatΓÇÖs happening right now in my life. I am being faced with the difficult decision to relocate due to my job. Align my heart with your will. Examine the motivation of my heart for wanting to follow this opportunity and relocate. Help me see the impact of this move on my life and family five or ten years down the road. Give me clarity about the right decision to make. Your Word instructs me not to lean on my own understanding and to submit all my ways to you. So I submit this opportunity to you. If this is what I should do, make the path plain before me. If itΓÇÖs not the right direction, close the door before me. I place it in your hands and trust you to be my guide.ΓÇ¥ That direct prayer will often yield a direct answer from God.
There was a time in my own life when the band I was in really needed a better touring vehicle than the 15-passenger van weΓÇÖd put 300,000 miles on. I began to pray specifically for a Mercedes Sprinter, built out for touring. I prayed for the finances to purchase it and for the right relationships to make it happen. I reminded God, (as if He forgets), that He called me to spread the Gospel and that I would need his provision to continue. Well, after praying that prayer consistently for several weeks, we found a few different Sprinters we considered purchasing but none of them were exactly what we needed, and we didnΓÇÖt have the funds for a down payment anyway.
Then I recalled a business owner that I had connected with that told me if I ever really needed anything to let him know. I prayed about calling to ask him for advice about how to purchase such an expensive vehicle. After several days of prayer and talking myself into calling him, I finally picked up the phone. I shared our situation and asked him if he had any ideas. His reply to me was, ΓÇ£How much would you need to put down on that?ΓÇ¥ I ballparked an amount and he replied, ΓÇ£Who do I make the check out to?ΓÇ¥
Prayer pointed me to the person who already had a ΓÇÿyesΓÇÖ in his heart for this request.
WHAT?! Talk about an answer to prayer. Prayer pointed me to the person who already had a ΓÇÿyesΓÇÖ in his heart for this request. I still thank God for that man and his open-handed generosity on that day. But the story didnΓÇÖt end there. We were in a church green room that day getting ready to play a show that evening. I couldnΓÇÖt contain my excitement and had to celebrate this answer to prayer with a lap around the church followed by a brief moment of busting into the Running Man. DonΓÇÖt judge me. Seeing my excitement, one of the promoters of the event became curious about the commotion I was making and asked about it, so I started unpacking this miracle. Come to find out, he worked for a Mercedes manufacturer and told us that he could get us a Sprinter at COST! I was in the right room, on the right day to meet the right guy that God would use to help us continue to do what we were doing to reach the next generation. A few months later, we were traveling in a custom Sprinter with five bunks, a television, a microwave, air conditioning, the whole shebang!
A specific prayer yielded a specific answer.
Let me clarify that Jesus isnΓÇÖt some ΓÇ£genie in a bottle.ΓÇ¥ But when we make His kingdom our priority and when our lives revolve around His will, the desires of our heart will align with His and He will make a way for us to live out what He has called us to do.
Could your prayers be more specific today?