1. Because it is the most natural way to pray. God has designed it, and thus made it natural that in all our communication, especially in our asking of questions, we tend to be direct instead of general or vague. John R. Rice, in his book, says it this way: “In any matter of daily living, we make our requests definite. We never go into a restaurant and say, ‘Bring me some food? We carefully select from the menu just what we want and think we can pay for.”
Today most of our gas stations are self-serve, but I remember the days when the serviceman would come to the car and would ask you how much gas you wanted. Now tell me, would you ever say to him, “Just give me a few gallons,” or, “Just give me whatever you think I need?” No way would any of us do that. We would tell him to give us exactly what we wanted or according to how much money we had. We would say to him, “Fill it up,” or, “Give me five dollars worth; and could you also wash my windows.” Now that is how we should pray—telling God exactly what we want. It is the natural way, the way God has designed us to pray.
2. Because it teaches us to know our own needs so we can trust God for each of them. If you believe that God is really God, then you must believe that He knows our needs before we pray about them. But if that is the case, then why all the fuss about praying specifically? The answer is obvious: it is not for God’s sake, it is for our sake. When we take the time to think about exactly what our needs are, write them down, and pray about them one at a time, we become more aware of our needs and more ready to admit that we need the grace of God.
3. Because it is the only kind of prayer that expresses faith and receives answers. According to Andrew Murray, there is a prayer that is not of faith; this is a prayer of submission that simply proclaims its desire and then leaves the decision to God. It is the prayer in which case God’s will is not known, so we say, “Whatever your will is Lord let it be done.” Hence, this is the prayer that has a desire for something but it has no assurance or promise from the Lord of getting it or even knowing that He wants us to have it.
Now it seems to me that I have heard this kind of praying quite often, especially from myself! And one may say, “There is nothing wrong with it, for I am putting it into God’s hands.” Well, I agree that we should put all things into God’s hands and wait for His will, but on the other hand, we should not be lazy in our praying. As we wait for God’s answer we should also work to find His will in scripture. Then, when we have found His will in a promise we can plead that promise through specific prayer.
General prayers, which are lazy prayers, do not express faith nor receive answers, because the petitioner does not take the time to find God’s will; thus he obviously can not claim His will in a specific request. Specific prayers, on the other hand, are full of faith because the petitioner takes the time and the effort to find God’s will and then counts on God through prayer to fulfill it. Thus, the petitioner who expresses faith: seeks for God’s will, prays specifically according to that will, waits for the expected answer, and in God’s time receives that answer.
4. Because it helps us to have hope for the answer. Since specific prayer, as we have discovered, is prayer that is full of faith, we may also say that it is full of hope, for faith and hope go together. Those who have faith to believe God also have hope that He will bring the answer. So the more we pray specifically the more we are telling God that we believe in Him and have hope for His answer. Then, as a reward, He gives us even more strength and patience to wait and pray.