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How Long Should You Pray For Specific Requests?

One topic that has baffled me throughout my whole Christian life is how long should you pray for any particular request. Not just how many times, but even how many minutes or seconds per day.

That may seem like a weird question to some but it can be paralysing to the prayer life of others.

I’m sure any of us can easily invent a list of 50 requests but then what. Should you

  • spend 10 seconds on each every day
  • ask God to bless the list
  • just read the list to God

This has been so confusing to me that I began avoiding praying over specific requests and I end up spending almost all my prayer time worshiping God or praying through Scripture or just asking for his will, all of which make more sense to me, but obviously the Bible also encourages us to pray about specific requests that impact our life (Philippians 4:6).

This confusion has persisted until recently, while reading Bill Johnson’s book “When Heaven Invades Earth” I read this simple insight – “You should pray about every area of your life until you can move into that area in complete faith (paraphrase)”.

This makes sense to me.

As I look at a list of things that concern me the question I’m asking is, have I reached a point of total trust in this area (complete faith = total trust)? Is part of that trust learning something from God about this topic? Does it include something He’s calling me to do about it? Have I done that thing? Do I sense God just wants me to persist in prayer before receiving an answer? That there’s more to work out? When I sense that state of total trust, real peace, I cross it off the list.

This has helped me answer all of these nagging questions

  • How long should the list be? – Every area of your life you feel uneasy about. Areas that cause doubt,  uncertainty or feel like a burden you’re carrying. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • How long should you pray? – Until you can move out into your day in faith in each area. (Romans 14:23)
  • How long should a requests stay on the list? – If that topic creates unease in your spirit later that day (anxiety or worry) then it needs to go back on the list to be presented to God during your next time of prayer. (Isaiah 26:3)

Side Note: I also believe God gives us burdens for the purpose of ongoing intercession. Areas that may remain unresolved for years and that he wants us to persist in prayer about but that’s a slightly different topic.

God wants us to live in a state of total peace that comes from complete trust in Him. Praying over a list of requests is the way we hear His heart, and discover our part, so that we can fully trust him in every area of our lives.