It might seem superstitious but, for as long as I can remember, I have avoided praying for specific results. When praying I simply request that God have His will in whatever situation about which I’m praying. For me it’s logical—faithful—to rely on the wisdom and mercy of God in prayer.
It’s merely that I don’t want to presume that I am more knowledgable or wise than God. As prayer requires faith for its efficacy, shouldn’t that faith extend to trusting God in what the results will be? If I prayed for God’s help in a matter then followed with instructions for Him as to what or how He should accomplish His work, I would feel lacking in my faith and in doubt He would answer my prayer.
This hasn’t been the case for many of my fellow Christians in charismatic denominations I’ve encountered who say specifically to “name it, claim it” in prayer (strongly rooted in Prosperity Theology). It’s surely comforting to name it and claim it but, for those who trust in the wisdom and mercy of God, the blessings are often overwhelming.
Today I came across this scripture in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which reminded me of this subject:
Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Perhaps there are church saints in a state of Christian Perfection who are qualified—whether or not inclined—to pray otherwise. But, until I’m closer to that state, I’m trusting in His wisdom over mine—likely more so then.
Related reading: The World’s Last Night by C.S. Lewis and A Plain Account of Christian Perfection by John Wesley