Prayer. Awhile back I saw a question asked somewhere (forget where) about prayer. It was something like this:

If you found out that every prayer you have prayed for the last 6 months would be answered…Would the whole world be a better place, or would only your immediate life be better?

It is natural to pray about our own needs and those immediate to us, but our prayers should encompass more than that too. It is true that we can’t pray for everyone and everything in the world, but perhaps we need to broaden our prayers some? Perhaps our prayers are a bit self-focused? 

I further thought of this question:

If you found out that every prayer you have prayed for the last 6 months would be answered…Would the answers be entirely/mostly physical in nature – health, employment, travel safety? Or would the answers be spiritual in nature too – people trusting Christ as Savior, spiritual growth, prodigals returning to faith, God’s kingdom really breaking through into this world? Perhaps our prayers are neglectful of the spiritual?

This past post may interest you: Can we please stop praying for sick people?

After that post, someone left this comment:

“I so get what you’re saying here, Laura. I was at a church for five years where almost all prayer requests were for sick members of the congregation (as well as their close and distant friends and relatives.) I was dismayed that the wonderful, powerful privilege of prayer was not being used for loftier purposes: spiritual and eternal purposes.

Don’t misunderstand the point. We should pray for the sick and physical needs, but not exclusively. We can be so accustomed to the status quo that we fail to take notice. The next time you are with a group of Christians in your Sunday school class, small group, or Bible study – take note of the prayer requests.

If the requests are only about physical needs (and only about our immediate lives), I would not suggest you judge or criticize – But perhaps the group can be gently encouraged to expand what they pray about. I share a couple of ideas in the linked post, such as using Scripture as a guide.