Petitioning God in Prayer
Petitioning is an additional aspect of prayer that we can consider and practice. Praise and confession are foundational in prayer, but petitioning is also an important piece of praying to our God and Father.
What is petition? Asking God for one’s own behalf. Technically, only yourself– not your family or anyone else falls into this category. It’s significant that petition falls after many other topics in prayer.
Asking is symbol of our desire, yet sometimes He won’t give that which we want or need until we ask for it. As James 4:2 says, “Ye have not because ye ask not.” God may still answer with a ‘no’ or ask us to wait or tell us ‘later,’ be He cannot answer if we don’t pray and we don’t ask.
Petition is not unbiblical or necessarily selfish. We do rely and depend on God and for that reason, we must ask Him for that which we need. As Jabez cries out in 1 Chronicles 9, who asked with sincerity for God to protect Him. We have but one Father and He must grant our provision. Petition is a confession of our helplessness, reliance, and desperation. When we ask with wrong motives, God does not grant our selfish requests (James 4:1-3).
It is spiritually healthy to take a need apart, piece by piece, during prayer. Analyze it from every angle and express it as a petition. The more specific and complete a petition is, the more faith is generated when the prayer is answered. Specific prayers are also good because you know when they are answered (Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:23). Don’t escape the spiritual tension by asking vaguely and then wondering if your prayers were answered. Sometimes we ask vaguely because we’re so afraid they won’t be answered and that indicts someone– God or ourselves.
Asking God with faith and with pure motives for ourselves is not selfishness, but is trusting God with all of our needs and with our future.
Prayer begins with praising God for who He is and what He’s done. We must also confess and repent of sin, as unconfessed sin hinders our petitions for ourselves. Waiting for God and watching for His work are also vital to making our own petitions. We must look for where God is working in the world already before making a request for ourselves.