Types of Prayer in the Bible: Petition
The Fellowship | September 3, 2019
Petition is prayer to God asking Him for our wants and needs.
Some people may think that asking God for our personal desires is wrong or selfish, but nothing could be further from the truth!
It is true that sometimes what we want for ourselves is not what is actually best for us in the long term. But when we go before God with these desires, even selfish ones, our motivations can be purified through the process. We forget that prayer is not just about getting what we want, it is being changed in the process of the answer—whether that answer is yes or no.
By coming to God with even our “small” wants, we honor Him as our source of life and all that is good in it; we aren’t simply “treating him like a vending machine” or something like that. Our Father wants to know His children’s wants, needs, and desires, no matter how large and small.
King David opens a prayer in the Psalms by asking God to “Hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy” (Psalm 143:1) and later finishes his prayer by saying “For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble” (143:11). David faced many challenges and difficult situations as the leader of Israel, and bringing them to God in prayer helped him get a better perspective on all that he was dealing with. We all need this!
Paul exhorts the Philippians in the New Testament: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Notice that Paul doesn’t say all our requests will be fulfilled, but our hearts and minds will be at rest knowing that our Creator has heard our requests. It’s both humbling and empowering at the same time to feel that He listens to us and cares about our thoughts and needs.
Don’t be afraid of feeling selfish for going to God with your needs—He knows what you’re going through and will make any heart adjustments necessary with your desires. Our God is the powerful God of Israel—the God who listens.