In our last few visits we have considered what I called Category A prayer requests – that is, requests based on definite Biblical statements. Now let’s consider what I would call a Category B request. These requests may not have clear statements in Scripture to support them, but the request is definitely in harmony with what the Bible teaches as God’s will.
For example, as a pastor, I am commanded to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). These verses say nothing specifically about numerical growth in my church. But the Book of Acts records how in the early days of the church God “added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). At times large numbers were converted and added to the church (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 8:4-8). God also promises to prosper those who meet certain requirements (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3); Jesus commends those who “bear much fruit” (John 15:5).
Based on these verses, I don’t have qualms about praying, “Lord, I ask you to use me and fellow believers in my church to bring many into an experience of faith and new life through Christ. I also ask that they become participating members of the church so we might grow numerically and have a powerful influence for Christ in our community and world.”
My request would be based on clear implications from Scriptures. I believe God would answer that prayer, but my faith would not be as strong as when I pray for something He has clearly stated and promised in His Word.