Many times in the last few weeks the Holy Spirit has given me a “check” in my own spirit. It’s one that can often go unnoticed, but I’m learning to be more sensitive to it. It’s a check in regard to prayer requests.
Sharing prayer requests is a beautiful means of lifting each other up before the Lord and laboring on behalf of someone else. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” What better way to do so than to pray for others? When we share our requests and the requests of others, more saints are able to present the requests to God and watch what He does.
Yet this “check” that the Holy Spirit gives is a reminder to be careful. Is it not true that prayer requests can also become a form of gossip? (See 1 Timothy 5:13.) There are times I want desperately to share a request with someone, but the Spirit reminds me to look at my heart. Am I sharing out of genuine desire to lift the request up to God? Will my sharing be constructive or detrimental to the person to whom the request belongs? Sometimes sharing prayer requests is more of a violation than an honorable deed.
The Lord reminds us gently to be cautious. There’s a difference between sharing a prayer request out of a humble heart and sharing a prayer request in hopes to get something out of it. When requests are made known to us from others, we must use judgement to determine whether or not the request is one to be passed along. We must take into account the other people involved, and ask God to give us wisdom in handling these parts of their lives. We also should ask God for wisdom in determining whom to share requests with — there’s no secret formula for this, but God is more than able to lead as He sees fit.
I’m not suggesting we be legalistic or stressed over getting everything right. What I am suggesting is that we be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. Ask for wisdom and discernment, and make sure your heart is right before sharing any prayer requests. Practice self-control and inclining your ear to what the Lord has to say. Seek the best for those around you.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Colossians 1:9-12